It's a room in which the Ottawa Senators strive to build a better hockey team.
But for the more than 20 riders who put the pedal to the metal on Thursday morning, it was all about helping to build a better community.
The first SENSational Ride for Mental Health, presented by Xerox, gave a healthy double assist to a worthwhile cause during its energetic debut at the Scotiabank Place strength and conditioning centre. Besides raising $25,000 for the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health, participants also helped boost awareness of mental health issues in the capital region.
"This is absolutely terrific for us in terms of helping raise awareness and much-needed funds for patient care and research," said Tim Kluke, president and CEO of the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.
Patrick Tallon, Xerox's vice-president for Eastern Canada, noted statistics that show "mental health issues affect our country to the tune of $33 billion a year."
"It's absolutely a staggering number," he added. "If you think about a community the size of Ottawa, this is probably a billion-dollar issue in our community."
The SENSational Ride was inspired by the efforts of Xerox senior business executive Mel Thompson, who is currently on a coast-to-coast cycling trek to build awareness of the issue. Funds raised from today's event will be presented to Thompson on Monday, when his journey reaches Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Sens Foundation president Danielle Robinson quickly warmed to the idea of being a part of this event when it was first proposed back in April.
"This is absolutely terrific for us in terms of helping raise awareness and much-needed funds for patient care and research." - Tim Kluke
"It sounded like a really great idea to us," she said. "It's certainly something we're well aware of that needs attention in the community and something that we really wanted to support and get involved with. It's amazing to think that, in four months, all of this has come together in such a short period of time."
For nearly two years, Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson
has been a passionate supporter and spokesman for the cause of mental health issues through a campaign called YouKnowWhoIam.com
. Kluke said Alfredsson's efforts have likely moved the visibility of his organization's cause forward by at least a decade.
"We've had calls from individuals and companies who not long ago said no to us (when asked) to help support mental health care," he said. "(Alfredsson) is a great leader and a great captain but what I can tell you is that his work at the Royal Ottawa has been 100 per cent sincere. What you see on the ice is what you see off the ice.
"He's a very committed, hard-working individual."
|The first SENSational Ride for Mental Health presented by Xerox, held Thursday at Scotiabank Place, raised $25,000 to support the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health. Pictured with the cheque are Sens Foundation president Danielle Robinson; Patrick Tallon, Xerox vice-president, Eastern Canada; Andree Steel of the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health; top fundraiser Angela Koskie ($4,700), and Tim Kluke, president/CEO of the Royal Ottawa Foundation. |