Hills for Health

Ethan's story

It’s 2:30 am on February 28, 2021 in Toronto. While most people are still in bed, Ethan Peters, 22, is preparing for a run. And not just any run. He’s about to run 111 kilometres, or the distance from the CN Tower in downtown Toronto to St. Catharines near Niagara Falls. And he’s doing it in support of CAMH.

In any given year 1IN5

Canadians experience mental illness

Running holds a special place in Ethan’s life, and so does mental health. When he was younger, a close family friend had spent some time at CAMH. At the time, Ethan wasn’t 100 percent sure what was going on, although he understands more now.

“I didn’t realize what was happening but as I got older, and see who he is now, CAMH has changed his life forever and it’s spectacular. He couldn’t get help at a lot of places but got it at CAMH,” Ethan says.

Originally, Ethan set out to run “only 50 kilometres” he laughs. But, on one morning, he ran 43 kilometres as practice and realized that he wanted a larger challenge. He set out to run 111 kilometres, which represents running all the hills in his eastern Toronto neighbourhood—twice! His original fundraising goal tied into this number and was set at $11,160 (roughly $100 per kilometre ran).

But, even though he wanted the run to have a sense of “this is us”, he couldn’t in his wildest dreams have pictured what was going to happen next.

News spread through social media and word of mouth. “This was my first fundraiser ever, and it was very humbling to hear people’s stories, have them on the street cheering me on, and even have some people run parts of the trek with me. I was overwhelmed.”

Ethan ran all 111 kilometres in under 10 hours and, by the time his fundraiser was over, had raised nearly $32,000.

“During the run, I remember thinking ‘I’m too young for this—I don’t think I have the spirit to witness this much community and love,’” Ethan recalls. “It was very touching. It definitely makes you think of the power of community to come out to support a guy running up some hills.”

As for what happens next, Ethan’s been so motivated that he hopes to continue this type of event. “I’d love to have a race every year to raise money for mental health!”

Get Started Now

Whether it’s a run, walk, concert, or something you come up with yourself, starting your own fundraiser is easy and CAMH has all the tools to help you. You can also contact one of our dedicated community and workplace fundraising coaches for more information.

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