By JAYSON DIMAANO
For a second year in a row, Michael Garron Hospital and Toronto Hustle are teaming up to hold the CRUSH COVID event.
The event will allow cyclists from around the world to help raise money to battle the mental health impacts of COVID-19.
In 2020, CRUSH COVID took place shortly after COVID-19 lockdown began in Ontario. Participants, including Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford, rode their bikes indoors and $250,000 was raised for Michael Garron Hospital’s Emergency Response Fund. The event ran for 24-hours straight, received attention and support from across the country and around the world.
The 2021 CRUSH COVID: Ride for Mind event is highlighting the pandemic’s growing mental health impacts and the transformative power of communities finding new ways to connect and inspire action during the pandemic, said a press release from Michael Garron Hospital. Mental health impacts taking a toll on residents include issues of isolation, lack of social interactions and stress.
The 2021 event takes place on March 12 and 13, which also marks the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 lockdowns.
“We can’t wait to welcome cyclists from across Toronto and around the world back to this unique virtual event to help address the mental health crisis that has emerged from the pandemic, particularly for the most vulnerable among us. We’re so grateful to every cyclist gearing up to join us,” said Mitze Mourinho, President of Michael Garron Hospital Foundation, in the hospital press release.
Bradford is also gearing up for his second straight year in the fundraiser.
“The mental health and addiction crises in our communities have only deepened during the pandemic. CRUSH COVID: Ride for Mind is a way for us to come together virtually and shine a light on these issues, and tackle them at the place and scale with the deepest impact, right here in the community,” he said in the press release.
As he did in 2020, Bradford said he will also ride for 24-hours and he is encouraging others to also participate. Those taking part in the event can do so an individual, which means riding all of the 24 hours themselves, or as part of a team that takes shifts.
He said he was able to get through the 24 hours of last year’s ride by thinking of the inspiration and sacrifices being made by frontline workers in the early days of the pandemic.
“Those sacrifices continue in 2021 and we all have new motivation knowing the toll the pandemic has taken on the mental health and well-being of our communities.”
This year’s version of CRUSH COVID goes from Friday, March 12, at 6 p.m. and runs until Saturday, March 13, 6 p.m.
People who wish to register to take part of who wish to make a donation and/or sponsor a rider, are asked to go to https://mghf.akaraisin.com/ui/crushcovid