Circle of Champions

The Circle of Champions shines a spotlight on six remarkable individuals making a significant impact in mental health advocacy and awareness through their participation in the Sunrise Challenge. Now in its inaugural year, the Circle of Champions program celebrates the stories of those who have gone above and beyond in their commitment to the cause, offering a glimpse into the personal motivations and journeys behind their extraordinary efforts.

Each Champion brings a unique reason for rising and a different path to success within the Sunrise Challenge. In addition to being active participants, our Champions are inspirational figures leading by example, demonstrating how individual efforts can collectively make a substantial impact and support Canadians’ mental health.

As we honour their contributions, we invite you to witness the transformative power of collective action and consider how you, too, can make a difference.

Meet the 2024 Circle of Champions

Jean P. Casino

Active on social media

Jean P. Casino

JP first participated in the Sunrise Challenge during a difficult time in his life. He initially experienced depression during the 1980s and 90s, and though later enrolled in therapy, experienced a relapse just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. After the separation of his 20-year marriage, JP felt lost and life felt impossible to handle. Thankfully, he was finally able to get help.

After rediscovering old friends, he chose to embrace himself for who he was and what he could become. Through the Sunrise Challenge, JP gave himself the time to reflect on his past and to start on his journey to recovery.

Kay Cassar, Bohemian Bliss Yoga

Engaging their community

Kay Cassar, Bohemian Bliss Yoga

The Bohemian Bliss Yoga community rises to create awareness around mental health and to let others know they are not alone. As a community, we are here for you as a safe space with open arms through morning Sunrise Yoga Classes on the beach. At BBY we are inspired by nature, the sun, and yoga to help us find mental balance through all challenges. Mother Nature is another place you can call home. We rise with the sun during the CAMH Sunrise Challenge week to enlighten and make others aware nature can help heal.

Claudia Fieder

Rallying their network

Claudia Fieder

I rise because mental health is a universal human right.

I rise to support mental health researchers who work to advance knowledge to improve lives.

I rise so that everyone has access to care.

I rise for my brother who has lived with severe depression and bipolar disorder for over fifty years.

I rise to provide HOPE for a new day and a better day for those suffering with mental illness.

It is an honour to participate in the Sunrise Challenge and support the work being done at CAMH.

Vanessa Mulroney & Jane Hanrahan
Power of Sunrise with POP

Highest revenue (Corporate team)

Vanessa Mulroney and Jane Hanrahan

We have each been profoundly impacted by mental illness. Jane's mother Maeve battled bipolar disorder since Jane was born, with limited support available during those years. Maeve passed from cancer at only 52. After Vanessa’s sister Davina passed away in 2011, her once vibrant brother Philippe, struggled with depression and died by suicide in 2015 at 33.

To honour our loved ones and support advancements in discovery and care, we join the Sunrise Challenge, commit to wake with the sun and collectively show those struggling with mental health challenges and suicidal thoughts that they are seen.

Frank Waszkun

Collecting the most donations

Frank Waszkun

I rise for the Sunrise Challenge because I was an in-patient at CAMH for about four months. It was wonderful, the people were wonderful, but it does need a lot of support. I rise because I never want people to feel embarrassed about mental health challenges; they are real. They are not treated like they are regular diseases, but they are very very real. I hope that you rise with me so that we can change the dialogue about mental health, and we make sure that people help each other. It’s not just medication or a few other things, it’s the help from people around you that can get you through it. That’s why I rise.


Thank you to our generous sponsors for rising with us to make the Sunrise Challenge possible. Together, we can fuel research breakthroughs, accelerate the pace of discovery and show people with mental illness that they're not alone.

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