Getting physical for mental health

Mike Danskin giving his all to get mental health message out there

A former University of Victoria male athlete of the year has completed his third grueling physical challenge in as many years in support of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Mike Danskin, who attended St. Michael’s University School and is a former member of Canada’s national rugby team, ran approximately 75 kilometres in the Grand Canyon on Aug. 26 – from the canyon’s south rim to its north rim and back again – as part of his “1 Day for the CMHA” fundraising and awareness campaign.

Danskin, 31, came up with the initiative in 2009 because he felt the mental health cause was being overlooked by many charity fundraisers. He was also looking for new ways to challenge himself physically, having retired from rugby three years earlier. Merging the two concepts seemed a logical step.

Danskin’s first fundraiser saw him summit four mountains near Banff while raising more than $10,000 for the CMHA.

Last year, he and two friends ran the length of the 75-km West Coast Trail, completing the distance in less than 18 hours. He raised more than $14,000.

Although this year’s challenge is complete, Danskin is still accepting donations for the cause and hopes to raise $20,000. The majority of the money will go to a “Youth and Mental Health” fund for the creation of an e-learning tool to help grade school teachers develop curriculum relating to mental health issues.

In addition, 10 per cent of the money raised will be given to Victoria’s Umbrella Society, a non-profit mental health advocacy group.

To contribute to Danskin’s efforts, visit his blog, 1dayforthecmha.blogspot.com and click on the “donate now” link.

editor@oakbaynews.com