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Coldest Night of the Year Challenge set for February 26th

The Coldest Night of the Year Challenge aims to help raise money for local organizations and awareness for mental health. Walk by yourself or register a team to contribute to the fundraiser.

Carrie Bartsch, Chief Operations Manager with Canadian Mental Health Northwest Region says the idea started as the Grande Prairie region and the surrounding area continues to face mental health issues.

“We wanted to talk loud and proud about mental health around Grande Prairie and reach out to people to not just raise money but also awareness,” she says.

Bartsch feels the fundraiser provides a great opportunity to get out and be active, with friends or family, while supporting the cause.

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“That’s what we wanted, a family-friendly event that people can do in the winter that gets them outdoors and moving. So many of these fundraisers don’t involve family but mental health affects everybody, especially children right now during the COVID-19 pandemic,” she says.

The Grande Prairie community has already responded quite well to the fundraiser, with 31 teams, 159 walkers, and just over $30,000 raised to this point. Bartsch is thrilled with the contributions to this point.

“It feels great to see the support early on, our organization needs the additional funds to keep our programs running and to reach more people now than ever. Right now in the world of non-profit organizations, there just isn’t enough to go around,” she says.

As of now, the forecast on Saturday is calling for a low of minus 7 in the evening and Bartsch encourages anyone to attend, with a minimum pledge of ten dollars.

“We’re really hoping to see a lot of people come out. Anyone that wants to come the day of the fundraiser can join us, as long as they’ve signed a waiver and provided a minimum pledge,” she says.

The walk starts at Grande Prairie Golf & Country Club and is either two or five kilometres long, with snacks, drinks, and a meal served along the way. Any walkers under 12 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The goal for the challenge is to raise $50,000. Registration for teams and individuals can be made here.

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