UBCO student raises funds for mental health

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If you ask UBC Okanagan student Mikey Friedland what he did this summer, make sure you have lots of time. 

Friedland, a fourth-year international relations student, cycled from the 49th parallel (the Canada-US border at Osoyoos) to Tuktoyaktuk (the Inuvialuit town nestled on the Arctic Ocean) by himself.

His goal was to raise awareness and money for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s 'Ride Don’t Hide' initiative.

So far, he has raised more than $27,000, more than twice doubling his fundraising goal.

Friedland, who has dreams of being a documentary filmmaker, left Osoyoos on May 21 with a secondhand touring bike.

“When I started, I took a photo of myself at the Welcome to BC sign in Osoyoos. When I saw the same sign from the opposite side, crossing into the Yukon, it was absolutely the coolest thing in my entire life.”

Friedland used the summer to hone his documentary-making skills, creating a film series chronicling his journey. So far, three episodes are available to watch on his YouTube channel. Two more episodes — showing his travels through northern BC, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories — will be released in September. All told, his route surpassed 4,000 kilometres, including nearly 25,000 metres of vertical climbs.

But what he’s really realized, at the age of 23 and through daily mental health checks, is that he’s ok. He’s alone. And he’s doing just fine.

“I’m really hoping my ride helps bring mental health out in the open."