‘Birchwood For Ben’ Raises $5.7K For Mental Health Programs

One man’s plan to walk the Birchwood Trails is helping raise funds for mental health programs across Wood Buffalo.

Julio Florez was able to collect around $5,700 after walking the trails for 12 straight hours in honour of his son Ben who passed away in 2016.

The event, called ‘Birchwood For Ben,’ was held on February 4 which would have been Ben’s 25th birthday.

“In addition to the 12-hour walk through the Birchwood trails, I want to help normalize the conversation about mental health, how it affects us all and the importance of seeking professional help,” said Florez, in a release.

“It is because of professional guidance and physical activity that I have been better able to deal with my own grief and challenges.”

Around 100 residents joined Florez during his 12-hour walk. One supporter even traveled all the way from Scotland.

The funds will go to the Canadian Mental Health Association of Wood Buffalo and Some Other Solutions.

“What Julio has done for our region is outstanding not only on the funding raised to support mental health programs, but also by encouraging additional support that improves mental wellness, such as physical activity, getting outside into mother nature, and community connection,” added Emma Jones, Marketing and Community Relations with CMHA Wood Buffalo.

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