Thomas Skelton is impressed that he was able to finish his MindRight Ride for Mental Health.

He applauds everyone for getting on board to help blow past the goal of raising $10,000 for MindRight, earning $15,000 in donations.

More importantly, the Fernie Ghostriders associate coach and assistant GM is proud of the conversations struck on mental health.

Through his personal social media, Skelton sparked conversations during the ride that were positive. He connected with people in the respective communities he was in.

“There was a guy in Creston who sat and chatted with me for a few minutes while I was waiting for a hotel and asked about the ride,” says Skelton, 33. “We had a really good conversation surrounding mental health. It importance and just destigmatizes mental health. What it means to maybe not feel at your best mentally. That is probably what I am most proud of. It’s been really rewarding to see people talk about it and have some conversations surrounding mental health.”

Skelton says the more people talk about their experiences, the more people see it is not a one person issue.

“It’s OK to feel that way. It’s OK to speak about any mental health issues you have,” he says. “Just seeing people being able to share their stories and get conversations going, it helps a lot of people realize they’re not in it alone. There is always somebody that they can reach out to. Hopefully people continue to make that decision.”

At each stop to end a riding day,  Skelton was greeted by a member of the respective Kootenay International Junior Hockey League organization and media person. Those stops were in Kimberley, Creston, Nelson and Kelowna. He also stopped in Gray Creek. He credits the KIJHL for the support on this, as well as local media, who were “phenomenal.”

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