April 25, 2013 9:47 pm
Updated: April 26, 2013 6:14 am

Six-time Olympian Clara Hughes to ride across Canada for mental health

Clara Hughes, an Olympic cyclist and skater, will be at the official opening of the Clara Hughes Recreation Park.

Jonathan Nackstrand / Getty Images

GATINEAU, Que. – Clara Hughes is taking her Bell Let’s Talk campaign on the road.

The six-time Olympian plans to ride her bike coast to coast to talk about mental health with schools and community organizations.

“Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let’s Talk” will start in March of 2014 and end in Ottawa on Canada Day, covering more than 12,000 kilometres over more than 100 days.

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“I can’t think of a better way to meet people, from the cities to the coasts to Canada’s North, than getting on my bike and taking to the roads of this beautiful country,” Hughes said.

The 40-year-old from Winnipeg is a two-time Olympic bronze medallist in cycling. She’s also won four Olympic medals in long-track speedskating – a gold, silver and two-bronze – over the course of three Winter Olympics.

Hughes, who battled depression during her competitive career, is the national ambassador for Bell Let’s Talk, an initiative launched in 2010 to help lift the stigma around mental illness.

The annual Bell Let’s Talk Day sees Bell donate five cents to mental health for every text and long-distance call by Bell and Bell Aliant and every Let’s Talk tweet and Facebook share.

This year, Canadians sent over 96 million messages, resulting in an addition $4.8 million in funding for mental health.

© 2013 The Canadian Press

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