‘Birchwood For Ben’ Doubles Funding Goal To Help People Struggling With Mental Health

A 12-hour walk in the Birchwood Trails for a father and daughter during frigid temperatures is paying off immensely.

Julio Florez – joined this year by his daughter Katrina – hiked the trails in an attempt to start a conversation and help raise funds for the Canadian Mental Health Association of Wood Buffalo.

He created the event ‘Birchwood For Ben’ last year to honour his son who died in 2016 from an overdose.

The goal was to raise $4,200, however, they ended up receiving over $8,500. This is also up from the $5,700 they raised in 2020.

Florez tells Mix News he’s happy knowing an organization like CMHA, which has been stretching resources, will get a little bit of help.

“There are not enough resources to tend to people who are in need of finding help. I experienced that myself in the first one to two years after my wonderful Benjamin passed.”

Along with raising money, the two were hoping to start a conversation around mental health.

There continues to be a stigma around the topic, however, more and more people are starting to reach out for help.

“The hope is that by sharing our pain we may be able to prompt at least one person to take action on their mental wellness or take action on helping a loved one or anyone,” added Florez.

There are currently no plans to stop ‘Birchwood For Ben’ with Florez looking forward to doing it again in 2022.

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