I #hikeOctober, because it was 2011 when a strange set of circumstances brought three souls together. It was in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. At the time Leo was living in Toronto, Nancy in the Houston area of Texas and me in New Jersey. At that time I didn’t think that this happenstance was a life changer but it was. One day over dinner at a local Holiday Inn, we decided that we wanted to do something to give back, something to do with hiking. So Leo said, Okay, let’s think about this, why do we hike? I immediately said. “We HIKE for Mental Health. We didn’t realize it at the moment, but that is when HIKE for Mental Health was conceived. It was born a month later. December of 2011. And the rest is history as they say.
It was a little bumpy start just like any start up there were things we tried that didn’t work and things we tried that did work. The one thing that has not changed is that every penny donated goes to the cause. None of us get paid to do what we do. It’s an all volunteer organization. We do have one hike a year that the money raised goes to help offset our operating expenses. And we make it crystal clear to the hikers. That hike is one of the most fun hikes we do. It’s the hike to Oktoberfest. I think the name says it all.
So this is why I support this great organization. Because not only do we raise money for mental health research. But we also raise money for preservation of wilderness trails. Last year we presented the Appalachian Trail Conservancy a check for over eleven thousand dollars. Another goal for HIKE for Mental Health is to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness. One in four people suffer from some form of mental illness. If we eliminate the stigma more people will get help.
So this is why I #hikeOctober. To support this great quest by this amazing organization.
-Tom Kennedy, Cofounder, HIKE for Mental Health