Harley’s bike tour supports mental health

By Murray Green

Lynne Harley is supporting mental health with her cross-country tour this summer.

Lynne Harley of Camrose is a life coach. But her biggest challenge may be inspiring herself to cross Canada on her bicycle beginning on
 June 19 to raise funds for mental health.
“I love to bike, but I have never done anything like this–an overnight bike trip. I met these two women who take long bike trips and it sounded exciting to me. I decided to go to Quebec because I have to be there for a wedding in September. I might do 100 kilometres a day, but I have no expectations. I have 10 weeks.”
The idea for a bike ride to raise awareness about people who have mental turmoil and funds started with her brother.
“Five years ago, on Father’s Day, I received the phone call that no one wants to hear; my younger brother had been found dead. Craig was 58 years old and had struggled with mental health issues from the time he was a young adult. Fifty years ago, mental health was not a subject that was talked about. This was a dark period for me. My mother had died only a year earlier, and I was caught in an undertow of grief, as I tried to make sense of my brother’s life and death,” explained Lynne.
Her son Jordan is getting married on
 September 10, and Lynne is officiating the wedding as well. “They live in Saskatchewan, but her family is from Quebec so that is why they are getting married there. It would be flatter roads going through the northern States, but Canada is my country and the funds are for Canadians, so I had to do this across Canada.”
In her spare time, she wrote a book on inspiring others. “I now see Craig as a teacher, as to how I want to live my life going forward. This is what’s inspired the creation of the children’s story I’ve written, What If You Could? It is about a caterpillar who desires more in his life and he looks at his longing and discontent while munching leaves. Soon he imagines a big dream that stirs him from his boredom. To believe in his dream, the caterpillar must decide which voice to listen to—the critical voice that warns him against change, or the kind voice that encourages him to believe in his dreams. This inspirational story of transformation is everyone’s story. It brings awareness to the internal self-talk that we all hear when we prepare to leave our comfort zone and spread our wings and fly,” shared Lynne.
She moved to Camrose in 2019 after living in Saskatchewan most of her life. “I started to explore Alberta and decided that this (Camrose) is the place I wanted to be. I am semi-retired (from social work) so I can explore from here. I didn’t know people here, so I just walked on the trails for hours,” she added.
“My changes in life–moving, writing a book and going on a bike tour–are all a result of promoting mental health wellness. We all go through a grieving process,” said Lynne.
“I believe we all live on a spectrum of mental health. When we are feeling mentally healthy, we are better able to discern and listen to the voice that lovingly guides us to believe and live into the best of who we are. This biking tour is my ‘what if I could’ and it’s inspired my dream of raising $100,000 for jack.org,” she explained.  
“A portion of all my What If You Could? book sales will be gifted to jack.org/whatifyoucouldtour. You can also make your personal donation (and will receive a receipt for income tax) by clicking on the link jack.org/whatifyoucouldtour,” Lynne said.
The site jack.org was created in memory of Jack Windeler. He was 18 years old when he died by suicide in his first year at Queen’s University and for whatever reasons, Jack was unable to reach out for the help he needed. Wanting to ensure that every young person struggling is identified and gets the help they need, Jack’s parents started a memorial fund that grew into jack.org. Their mission is to empower young leaders to revolutionize mental health nationwide; to identify and dismantle barriers to positive mental health. They’re working towards a society where all people understand how to take care of their own mental health and look out for each other- without shame, and those who need support get the help they deserve. Suicide is preventable, and is sadly still the leading health-related cause of death for young people in Canada.”
What if we could change this together, she thought. “It would be great to have a Jack chapter in Camrose where we help people from mental issues at the high school or Augustana,” she said.