THUNDER BAY — The goal is to cross Canada in 40 (riding) days to bring awareness to children's mental health and the lack of accessible care.
Dr. Alex DiGiacomo, a Vancouver-based clinical psychologist who specializes in children, passed through Thunder Bay on Monday, making a stop at the Terry Fox monument on a journey that's already surpassing its fundraising targets.
DiGiacomo said the ride is intended to confront the elephant in the room when it comes to her field of work.
"We are only seeing a small fraction of kids in the clinic," she said. "And unfortunately, the vast majority of kids and parents aren't able to access the care that they need. This is a massive problem, and it's very overwhelming and hard to figure out how to solve it."
DiGiacomo knew she wanted to do something and chose to cycle across Canada, a journey she said stands in for the problems her clients and many others are facing,
"It's interesting because these parents and kids are facing this struggle that feels very insurmountable because they're alone... they feel alone and terrified," she said. "So, I'm doing this kind of as a metaphor. I want to be doing something that feels to me very insurmountable as well as sort of a symbol to show parents and kids that they're not alone."
DiGiacomo only started cycling four months ago and proclaimed she is not an athlete. While the learning curve of cycling across the country has been "very, very steep, very steep," the doctor left Vancouver on July 22 and is only four riding days behind her goal of being in Halifax after 40 active days.
Her initial fundraising goal of $10,000 has already been reached, a milestone that occurred while DiGiacomo was passing through Kenora recently.
The psychologist has now increased the total fundraising goal to $50,000, with all cash raised going to carefully chosen charities that fund mental health services and resources for kids, teens, and their families.