This post is a little out of sequence to meet a timeline for the Erin Doyle Memorial poker run fundraising page, so this is the event I attended the week before the Erin Doyle Memorial Poker run.  This event is the Military Minds Inc – All Day Mental Health Awareness Fundraiser

This poker run started off in a weird way… on my way to meet my travel partner – I spent some time yelling at a douchenozzle for being all over the freeway while trying to text… he then spent the next 5 miles – almost caused 3 accidents – just to flip me the finger before exiting to Highway 2 southbound…. I hope my delicate feelings can absorb the hurt that he tried to cause me.  Let me check… feelings… all good, he was a douchenozzle, so I didn’t care.  Little did I know that this odd encounter would not be my only eyebrow raising event of the day.

Mother Nature started off by giving us a good weather day, which has been rare this summer in Edmonton.  This poker run did things a little different from most – start point was not the same location as the end point… which does have some advantages, and some disadvantages. It does cause more work for the organizers/vendors (2 locations to set up), while allowing riders to see more of the sponsors.

Open chat MMIThe launch was from Heritage Harley Davidson in South Edmonton, where breakfast was available, coffee was hot, jokes and tall tales were told.  This event was an all-day PTSD awareness event, including a poker run, which supported many different charities and organizations that provide programs and events for people suffering with PTSD, in addition to their families. The great part about the opening remarks is that they allowed the multiple groups the opportunity to address the assembled mass about their PTSD programs (awareness is a prime component of education) and how they operate.  This even included medical professionals, and program providers to talk about the impacts that have been seen.  This method of “opening ceremony” is of great benefit to the organizations, as the ability to address a large audience in today’s society is getting harder and harder.

The list of groups that were there covers many different avenues of Mental Health support.  CanPraxis for the equine therapy, Sheepdog Lodge for the nature therapy, Military Minds Inc (MMI) for peer support, and Marijuana For Trauma (MFT) for medicinal cannabis education.

As I write this post, I laugh to myself because I was recently nominated for the 22 push up challenge for PTSD awareness… I am working on my video response, which is aimed a little more at education… I have included it here.

The plan was for a large group to depart together, so I joined the group of photographers standing by the gate with my little action camera in hand… to at least try to improve my video skillz.  You be the judge…. Gratuitous burnout footage at the end… just to get you to watch all the way to the end..

30 minutes later, the day went a little bad when my riding partner caught a tar snake and ended up in the ditch.  Short version – tar snake, no paved shoulder, and soft gravel slope.  He is mostly ok, had surgery to wire his elbow back together the next day, and is now on the road to recovery.  I won’t go into many details here that make me want to rant – mostly about how society SUCKS. There were 4 vehicles that drove by, and not one slowed down enough to see if we needed help.  I was trying to get something on his elbow to stop the bleeding and get 911 on the phone.

The Heritage Harley Davidson staff, MMI and MFT guys that came out to assist in getting the bike out of the ditch were AWESOME.  The bike was loaded in the HD van, and stored until he was out of the hospital then they took it to his house. This showed that when chips are down, the riding community comes together, regardless of anything.   He and his wife were surprised how quick the bike was recovered after the ambulance took him away, due to that level of awesomeness (if it isn’t a word, it should be now).

Back to the event of the day….
After I visited him and his wife in emergency, I got his poker hand from him, then made my way down to Blackjacks to see how our hands were.  Continuing the awesomeness of the day, the Road Captain drew cards for us at each of the stops, and had them written on a piece of paper for us.

So, we filled in the hands, drew the last card and I sent him a photo of his horrible hand…. Just to laugh.

One thing that is common at these events is the silent auction.  What I thought made this event different was the theme of the silent auction items.  Almost all were bike or military themed, and very high quality items – including hand crafted items from noted artists.  That was very cool… I won a paracord lanyard set from Knotheadz designs – it is pretty cool.  I am not a lanyard kinda guy, but might try to be soon… it looks pretty cool.

Overall, the final fundraising tally was just shy of $5000 is what I heard.  When I look at the objectives of the day – awareness and education was a big part of it, and that was achieved in spades.  As this was a first annual event, they have some challenges to maintain the high standard for next year… I look forward to attending it.  In the Edmonton riding community, there are multiple events every weekend, and a well executed event is what is needed to help keep bringing people back (in my opinion anyway).

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