The Miles for Mental Health run/walk began in 2011 as an initiative of former CMHA Simon Fraser branch. As mental illness often languished in the shadows, the underlying premise of the event was to give families and businesses a visible opportunity to come out and participate in a walk/run held at Queens Park in support of those in the community struggling with mental illness.
Douglas College was confirmed to be the Platinum sponsor. The event received support from many local businesses and politicians within the New Westminster and surrounding communities.
On event day, the skies opened in such a torrential downpour, the organizers wondered if anyone would show up.
In heartening support of the cause, two hundred participants braved the weather to make the event a success. It stopped raining in time for the volunteers, participants and well-wishers to enjoy the music from a live band.
The inaugural Miles for Mental Health walk/run generated $20,000 in funding and paved the way for future events. An unexpected positive result was that the CMHA Simon Fraser branch received over 20 testimonials from people who had participated because mental illness had affected their families, and had felt the run had given them an opportunity to both include and support those family members.
The CMHA Simon Fraser branch amalgamated with the Delta, and Vancouver-Burnaby branches in 2015 to become CMHA Vancouver-Fraser. The Douglas College Miles for Mental Health continues to be the signature CMHA fundraising event within the New Westminster community.