Skip to content

Hundreds of Sudburians run for mental health

First annual Unbreakable Spring Open draws nearly 500 runners

Some cool and damp conditions couldn't break the spirit of nearly 500 runners who made their way to Rotary Park on April 23 for the first annual Unbreakable Spring Open.

The run was spearheaded by Lo-Ellen Park student Josh Tillson and his friend Lauren-Ashleigh Beaudry of Lockerby Composite School.

"There's always been a bit of a rivalry between our schools," laughed Beaudry. "From football games and track and field meets, but it's great to see the two schools putting that aside and coming together for this cause."

Tillson came up with the idea for the run in the wake of losing his stepfather to suicide. The 16-year-old battled with depression following the death of his stepfather and he turned to running as a coping mechanism.

The goal for the two teens was to raise enough money through the event to bring Cameron Helps to schools in the Sudbury area. Cameron Helps is a youth suicide prevention group that helps kids who may be suffering in silence with depression or other mental health issues.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among youth, and as many as 75 per cent of suicides among young people are the result of depression. 

The response from the community was one that neither Tillson or Beaudry expected, but was a tremendous surprise for both of them.

"We were expecting maybe 150 people today," said Tillson. "We have almost 500 participants and more than 100 volunteers. It's great to see, especially with the kids taking part, about 200 of the participants are youths which is awesome because this whole initiative is aimed at helping young people."