Local mom to run 50km from Langley to Vancouver to combat overdose crisis

World Mental Health Day is Saturday, Oct. 10

Local nurse Sheila Henry, 41, is running 50-kilometres from Langley to Vancouver on World Mental Health Day (Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020) to raise awareness and funds to fight the overdose crisis in the province. (Sheila Henry/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Local nurse Sheila Henry, 41, is running 50-kilometres from Langley to Vancouver on World Mental Health Day (Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020) to raise awareness and funds to fight the overdose crisis in the province. (Sheila Henry/Special to Langley Advance Times)

A local nurse is running 50-kilometres from Langley City to Vancouver on World Mental Health Day to raise awareness about the overdose crisis during the pandemic.

“I’ve been working with the overdose crisis since 2016, since the emergency was declared,” said Sheila Henry. “It changed my life.”

The Walnut Grove resident said it was the number of deaths related to illicit drug overdoses reported by the BC Coroners Service in recent months that led her on this path.

“It was really profound to me, it struck me,” the 41-year-old said as she fought back tears.

In the first eight months of 2020, the province has already surpassed last year’s total of illicit drug overdose deaths, according to data released by the BC Coroners Service.

READ MORE: First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Just shy of 150 people fatally overdosed in August, or roughly nine people every two days, bringing the total since January to 1,068 deaths, the data indicates.

“I wanted to do something that garnered attention, something I could be proud of and something not a lot of people do,” Henry said about deciding to run the marathon.

On Saturday, Oct. 10 Henry will be running from Langley to Vancouver in an effort to raise awareness and funds to benefit the BCCDC Foundation for Public Health.

“I really like what they’re about… it really fits with how I feel about so many things in regards to the overdose crisis, and health, and how public health can have a role and take action,” Henry explained about donating to the foundation.

READ MORE: It’s been a year since a Langley teen died from a suspected overdose, family still awaits charges

As of Friday afternoon, Henry had raised more than $3,500 dollars on her Canada Helps fundraising page.

“A lot of people conflate addiction and the overdoes crisis with homelessness or poverty, which isn’t actually the big picture – it is part of it,” she explained.

Henry will begin her marathon at Innes Corner Plaza in Langley City (20399 Fraser Hwy.) at 8 a.m. Saturday, making stops in Surrey, New Westminster and Burnaby before reaching Strathcona Park in Vancouver (857 Malkin Ave.) before 4 p.m. – she hopes.

“I’m excited. It’s been so emotional the last couple of weeks since I’ve launched my fundraiser online. I’ve cried so much in appreciation… it’s been so beautiful,” she said ahead of the big day.

But Henry said she is new to running and it’s her boyfriend Jamie Cross, 48, who is the athlete.

In July the pair started training for Henry’s marathon.

“Everything I’ve ever done for running has been for myself… watching her do this challenge has nothing to do with herself,” Cross noted about Henry’s compassion and selflessness.

“I’m a completely different man because of the way she loves,” he said.

READ MORE: Some B.C. nurses given green light to prescribe safe drugs amid overdose spike

The BCCDC Foundation for Public Health aims to raise $30,000 before the end of the year to support programs across the province that are working to combat the overdose crisis, according to Kristy Kerr, executive director of the foundation.

“Not only is [Shelia] raising awareness… she’s helping us reach our target,” Kerr said.

Henry, a single mom, said she and her family have also personally struggled with mental health.

“I have two intelligent, beautiful, amazing, adult daughters… My eldest daughter, Kisa, fought depression and self-harm tendencies from a young age and she was eventually diagnosed with bipolar mood disorder,” Henry noted on her fundraising page.

“My youngest daughter, Tayla, had difficulties with anxiety and at 13 had a brain hemorrhage and required an emergency life saving craniotomy. Afterwards, she needed rehabilitation therapy for a year and had the added challenge of depression.”

“My daughters are going to be my crew [on Saturday],” Henry said.

To learn more about Henry’s campaign or to donate visit www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/50-k-run-to-raise-awareness.

For updates on her marathon visit her Instagram page at www.instagram.com/livingthishumanlife.


@JotiGrewal_
joti.grewal@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

LangleyLangley Citymental healthoverdoseoverdose crisis

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Jamie Cross, 48, helped his girlfriend Sheila Henry, 41, train for a 50-kilometre run from Langley to Vancouver on World Mental Health Day (Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020). Henry, Walnut Grove resident, is raising awareness and funds to fight the overdose crisis in the province. (Sheila Henry/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Jamie Cross, 48, helped his girlfriend Sheila Henry, 41, train for a 50-kilometre run from Langley to Vancouver on World Mental Health Day (Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020). Henry, Walnut Grove resident, is raising awareness and funds to fight the overdose crisis in the province. (Sheila Henry/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Just Posted

Limited edition light weight starter disc frisbee golf sets from Raptor’s Knoll are for sale. (Special to The Star)
Construction begins on community pavilion at Aldergrove’s ‘booming” Frisbee golf course

Co-founder says Raptors Knoll gets so busy with players, a second course would get completely filled

The Schoolmistress is a Victorian farce from 1886. (Theatre in the Valley/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Schoolmistress brings Victorian farce to Langley’s livestreamed theatre

A Zoom production of the popular 1886 play will be held this March

Trent Miner is returning to the Vancouver Giants, the team announced. He has been released by the Colorado Eagles of the AHL.(Rik Fedyck/Vancouver Giants)
Trent Miner returns to play goal for Vancouver Giants

Netminder was part of epic 11-game winning-streak by Langley-based team

Vehicles lined up at the testing clinic at KPU’s Langley parking lot on Wednesday, Feb. 17. The site is also giving vaccinations to seniors 90 and over starting next week. (Langley Advance Times files)
KPU testing site will also host Langley mass vaccination clinic

Drive-through vaccinations will be available for those 90 and over next week

Langley native Tamara Lovelace has been named to the Team USA medical team for the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
How a ‘very focused’ Brookswood Secondary grad ended up a Team USA doctor

Langley’s Tamara Lovelace was going to be a ballerina

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (43) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Monday, March 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Captain Clutch: Horvat nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Habs 2-1

Vancouver, Montreal tangle again on Wednesday

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Some of the hundreds of pounds of trash removed by divers last month from Abbotsford’s Walmsley Lake.(Henry Wang photo)
VIDEO: Divers remove 462 pounds of trash from Abbotsford lake

Walmsley Lake dive uncovers several tires, hundreds of drink containers and a tent

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Most Read