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CWDHS teacher canoes Nahanni River to raise money for suicide prevention and mental health awareness

Canoe trip - Before embarking on a 530km canoe trip down the Nahanni River in the Northwest Territories Centre Wellington District High School teacher Jack Frimeth displayed his birch canoe at Countdown to Canada Day 2017 Moments that Matter at Maple Park in Belwood on June 28.  Photo by Olivia Rutt

CWDHS teacher canoes Nahanni River to raise money for suicide prevention and mental health awareness

by Jaime Myslik

FERGUS - A Fergus high school teacher is currently paddling the Nahanni River in the Northwest Territories to raise money for suicide prevention and mental health awareness.

Centre Wellington District High School teacher Jack Frimeth co-founded PADDLE (Paddle Against Diabetes, Display Love for Earth) in 2011. The organization does various fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for diabetes among first nations communities.

“We did the first community paddle at Six Nations and so it was just a great afternoon event, families came, people who have never paddled and then afterward we provided snacks and things like that ... talked about healthy active living, medicine wheel and good choices in life,” Frimeth said. “From that I ran a couple of other community paddles here in Fergus and also started showing what was called the Real Paddling Film Festival so we do that once a year, it’s a film festival all about paddling.”

He said the location of this year’s film festival is not yet decided.

In addition, Frimeth also fundraises through his solo canoe trips and this year he’s taking on the Nahanni River in the Northwest Territories.

In the past Frimeth has raised money and donated it to diabetes organizations in the local area where he is canoeing. His plan for the Nahanni River paddle was to give donations to the Dehcho diabetes program at the Fort Simpson health centre. The entire population consists of 1,200 people. However news from a few weeks ago changed his trajectory.

“I had heard that there ... were four suicides since February, teen suicides and as soon as I heard that ... I just said ‘no, the money’s going to suicide prevention and mental health awareness.’

“I mean it was just instantaneous, there was no thought process ... so then I just decided that that was the right thing to do.”

Frimeth was in touch with the Liidlii Kue First Nation and told them that he wanted to donate whatever funds he raised to mental health and suicide prevention. The chief suggested to pass the funds onto the band council.

“He said the band council is looking into dealing with it and that I can direct the money to them and they would in fact pass that on and use it for the community,” Frimeth explained.

Frimeth arrived in Fort Simpson on July 4 and planned to begin his 530km canoe trip on July 5 from Moose Ponds.

“Probably for me the biggest challenge is going to be just the portage around the falls,” he said. “It’s about a mile or something.”

He added, “the first two or three days is all white water through an area they call the rock garden, so that will also be a challenge as well.”

Also on July 5 Frimeth presented $670 of fundraised money to Sub-Chief Antoine of Liidlii Kue First Nations in Fort Simpson.

However, he is still accepting donations. Those who would like to contribute can text him at 519-212-3817 or send him an e-transfer to j_frimeth@hotmail.com. Frimeth will pass along any donation to the band council once he has returned from his canoe trip.

July 14, 2017

 
 

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