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RBC Race for the Kids kicks off this weekend

It’s the perfect weekend to get outside and support youth mental health in Saskatchewan during the RBC Race for the Kids, taking place October 17 and 18.

Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation is joining 36 other youth charities for this weekend’s virtual race – a global movement in support children’s mental health in 16 countries. Here in Saskatchewan, it’s kids like 9-year-old Elara who will benefit from your support.

Elara lives with complex care needs, after being born with a rare congenital heart defect. Her chronic health conditions have led to numerous hospital stays and as a result, Elara was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“PTSD is challenge in kids because, to be frank, Elara only knows this life that she has,” said Elara’s mom Tara. “Elara doesn’t talk about the things that she has been through, she endures them. Despite all that, she loves going to the hospital, and we have always taken solace in that because it’s a testament to the care she gets there. But, we’ve learned that it is also related to PTSD, because she feels the most safe at the hospital. It’s where she gets rescued.”

Elara sees a psychiatrist as a result of her struggles from living with complex care needs. Throughout her life, Elara’s mental health care needs have stemmed from hospital experiences as a child and growing up in that environment. Being so young, Elara would have difficulty differentiating between a normal situation and a serious medical situation.

“She developed difficulty going to sleep because as she got older she didn’t understand the difference between asleep and falling asleep for surgeries,” said Tara. “With help, we have been able to repair that narrative for her and she now understands the difference between sleep and sedation. Now more than ever, children with chronic illness need mental health support.”

Your participation during this weekend’s RBC Race for the Kids will help fund the greatest mental health needs at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital for kids like Elara. COVID-19 meant this year’s walk/run was at risk of cancellation. However, the need from charities, particularly those focused on youth mental health is greater than ever, so RBC has adapted with the global and virtual event.

Sign up to walk, job, run or wheel 2.5km, 5km, 10km or you can select your own distance to get active and raise funds to support Saskatchewan kids and teens. Registration is free and participants are encouraged to fundraise or make a donation.

For more information on mental health resources and support services available, please visit saskatchewan.ca.

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