SASKATOON – To paraphrase Brett Mavriik, if you’re agitated and determined to make a difference you can pretty much do anything. That includes walking across Canada to raise awareness and money for children’s mental health.
“Pretty much anywhere you go if there’s a disruption, which children with mental health may have if they’re ostracized, they’re pushed out. They never have a chance and I don’t think that’s fair,” says Mavriik.
Mavriik and his husky, Nymeria, are midway through their seven-million step journey from Toronto to Whistler, B.C. The adventure started on Sept. 28, 2015 and will take almost a year to complete.
Despite being in pain, Mavriik will persevere in the hopes of bringing change.
“There’re a lot of sad stories out there. I talked to a lot of police, over 25 police across the whole way and mental health is a major issue in a lot of their calls. It’s a big, big problem.”
“I’m sorry, but with the hashtag awareness and everything most people still don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to admit it. They don’t want to admit that maybe their child has a mental health issue because it looks bad on them and that’s the worst thing you can do.”
Mavriik admits the journey hasn’t been a walk in the park, but he’s found strength in the little things.
“When someone says ‘hey, it’s because of you I was able to get up and get going again,’ that makes me feel good.”
Mavriik plans to write a book – 7 Million Steps – about his adventure gathering elements from first hand stories across Canada.
“I’m not out here writing my book, I’m out here building it. I can’t sit in Toronto and try to tell everyone this is how it is unless I actually get out there and know how it is, talk to enough people and get enough views and sum it all up.”
The pair left Saskatoon on Sunday and will continue their trek up Highway 16 to Edmonton. This brings them one step closer to Mavriik’s personal goal of climbing Whistler Mountain.
“Climbing the mountain is kind of a personal for me. It’s kind of like I’m taking the mountain that I carry on my shoulders and I’m putting it up there to get it off of my shoulders and just free myself from everything.”