#WhyIRide – Lisa’s Story


Often when we find out someone we love has died by suicide, we are left confused and crushed inside and out.

How do we rebuild and carry on when someone who meant the world to us is gone?

Lisa and her family have chosen to be advocates. To be the loudest ones in the room when it comes to preaching mental health awareness.

“We want everyone to know that they matter. We don’t want anyone to ever feel embarrassed or ashamed if they need to reach out for help. We want to help end the stigma of mental health and one way to do that is keep the conversation going,” said Lisa. Lisa lost her son Mitchell to suicide in September of 2018.

She has started the team “feet1st1ntohell” for Ride Don’t Hide 2019, where family and friends will ride in memory of him. The goal is to make sure people understand the importance of reaching out when times get tough and that there are resources to help when you feel the most alone.

“We just love our name as it reflects Mitchell so well. The team name was Mitchell’s email for as long as he had one. It was the name on his license plate frame and it is also a reference to one of his favorite video games, Halo.” “We want to honour our son who fought a good fight for many years. We want to bring light to a very serious issue. If we can have a bit of fun by doing this bike ride for mental health with friends and raise some money, all the better,” said Lisa.

Mitchell was an accomplished young man.

He was the valedictorian of his high school class, excelled in music, played piano, set 94 Olds Rapids Swim Club records, wrestled at a provincial and national level, and received numerous awards at university. “He was the perfect example of when you hear people say ‘he had everything going for him. Why?’ He did have everything,” said his mom.

Mitchell will receive his degree in electrical engineering posthumously in June. His parents couldn’t be more proud.  His family has vowed to spend the rest of their days preaching the importance of mental health awareness and we are so pleased to have them supporting Ride Don’t Hide and sharing their story.

“Mitchell worked really hard his last year of his life. He did everything he was supposed to: saw a therapist and psychiatrist, took medication, practiced mindfulness, exercised, kept routines in place, went out with friends and reached out when he needed help. What we have learned is sometimes there needs to be more. There needs to be more of a process. More monitoring of medications, more medical persons involved. Our system is lacking and that’s why we ride for mental health.”

Ride Don’t Hide is happening Sunday, June 23, 2019 to raise awareness and funds for programs and services in the Calgary community. Our goal is to have 550 riders and raise more than $175,000.

Our Peer Support program services can be accessed over the phone at 403-297-1402 or through email at peer@cmha.calgary.ab.ca.