The crisis also took on a personal meaning for the Wiley family last year.
Curtis Ranger began looking after the family camp on Lake Wanapitei – just outside of Sudbury – in 2019. He was a dependable and knowledgable handyman as well as a great guy to have around. When Curtis closed down the camp in the fall of 2019, the family looked forward to seeing him again in the spring of 2020.
We were stunned to learn that Curtis passed away in March 2020 – a victim of a fentanyl overdose. Curtis was 24.
In the wake of this tragedy, we’ve learned about the depth of this crisis in Canada and the acute need for help, particularly in places like Sudbury – which has the highest per capita rate of opioid-related deaths in Ontario. We’ve learned about the relationship between addiction and other forms of mental illness, and the connection with physical health. We’ve learned that opioid overdoses now account for more deaths in Canada than automobile accidents. And we learned that many of you have been touched by this crisis.
All of this left us feeling like we need to know more and we need to do more to help.
After speaking with Dave and Bonny Ranger, the Wiley Family Foundation has teamed up with CAMH to do just that – fund a CAMH Research Fellowship dedicated to mental health and addiction research. The goal is to learn more so that we offer better help to those who are suffering.
In support of this project and to honour Curtis and all the victims of this crisis, Joe Wiley and his friend Kevin Mackinnon are tackling the first ever RANGERMAN: a 4-day journey that starts with a 543 km bike from Oakville to Sudbury with a stop on the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry (45 km) to get to Manitoulin Island followed by a 12 km swim from the Wiley Family Camp across the lake to the North Shore. A 600 km trek total!
About the CAMH Addictions Fellowship
The Wiley Family Foundation reviewed a number of proposals from CAMH and have decided to work with Dr. Leslie Buckley and Dr. Samantha Wells on an Addictions Fellowship. Dr. Wells is the Senior Director and Senior Scientist, Institute for Mental Health Policy Research. Dr. Buckley is Chief, Addictions Division. We will be helping to create a fellowship position that will bring both the Addictions Division and the Policy Division closer together – a first for CAMH.