Friends on a 3,000 kilometre bike ride made a multi-day pit stop in the Cariboo this week.
Tyler Waddell, Tony Fazeli and Jordan Powell embarked on a quest June 15 from Phoenix Society in Surrey — the place Tyler and Tony met and shared an immediate connection — to Whitehorse, Yukon, called Light the Pathway Society. The goal: promote awareness surrounding mental health issues and raise money for the Boys and Girls Club of BC and Yukon.
To make the ride all the more challenging, the group will be traversing the 3,000 kilometres — including stops in Williams Lake, Quesnel and 100 Mile House — by handcycle in a show of support for Fazeli, who has used a wheelchair for the past 16 years.
While in Williams Lake in mid July, the group was invited to share their stories at Nenqayni Wellness Centre in front of a group of youth, and explored parts of the region, including Farwell Canyon.
Waddell created the Light the Pathway Society in 2019 where he completed a similar ride on his own, which inspired Fazeli to join him on this year’s trek.
Powell recently joined the group to look after public relations and social media.
“It’s all about experiencing life again, and enjoying the journey,” Waddell said. “We want to remove the stigma surrounding mental health and help to educate people as best we can.”
Tony became paralyzed after a tumour was discovered on his spine.
“Speaking at Nenqayni Wellness Centre, that was one of the most powerful experiences to be a part of in my life,” Waddell said. “We were able to tell and share stories with the use I wasn’t able to do until I was in my 30s. We’re totally honoured to have been a part of that.”
As far as the journey goes, the group has been riding about 80 to 100 kilometres a day en route to the Yukon.
The Light the Pathways group is working on creating a video series along with an app to help people struggling with mental health issues, creating a local directory where people can find help in different locations throughout the province.
“It’s not about the kilometres travelled,” Waddell said.
“It’s all about the love, light and healing.”
To find out more about the group’s journey, or to donate, visit their Facebook page at “Light the Pathway Society” or check out www.gofundme.com/lightounite.