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Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Island man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser
Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)

It’s generally accepted men aren’t very comfortable talking about certain health issues, particularly mental health.

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair wants to help change all that, calling upon his abundant experiences as a paramedic, life coach and educator by hosting a 12-hour talk-a-thon over Facebook Live Friday, June 18 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pacific Time. He’s inviting anyone who wants to take part with something to say or just to listen during the informal session.

“There’s going to be a lot of different things going on,” Ruppenthal said. “I don’t necessarily have an agenda. I certainly have a lot of material.”

The timing of the session all seems appropriate to him with June 18 just before Father’s Day being Wear Blue Day and Ruppenthal’s 65th birthday June 28 on the horizon.

Wear Blue Day is a part of the year-round Wear Blue campaign created by the Men’s Health Network to raise awareness about the importance of male health and inspire men to take steps that will lead to longer and healthier lives while giving women an opportunity to encourage them to do so.

“I wanted to do something different this year as I have been a fundraiser and advocate for men’s health for a number of years,” Ruppenthal indicated. “I fundraise a lot for Movember. I had prostate cancer.”

That was five years ago and he’s been doing well since then.

“Everything’s looking good,” Ruppenthal explained. “I went through some radical surgeries.”

The ramifications of mental health have particularly piqued his interest through his 30 years as a paramedic.

“Mental health is so rampant,” he said. “I spent most of my time in Vancouver. I fell in love with the work and the people there and what they were going through wasn’t their fault.”

A talk-a-thon seemed like a good idea to further bring the topic into the open and for him to satisfy another of his longtime desires.

“I’ve always wanted to be a radio talk show guy,” he laughed.

Ruppenthal’s campaign will be in support of three charities: Canadian Mental Health Association (Cowichan Valley branch); Wounded Warriors Canada and the Honour House Society. The Honour House wellness centre is in New Westminster, with a ranch in Ashcroft.

On Friday, Ruppenthal will post a link to Canada Helps which is taking the donations. All the funds raised will be distributed any way individuals wish and the goal for the campaign that ends on Ruppenthal’s birthday is $6,500.

The live broadcast will be on the Unbroken Hero Project Facebook page by clicking on Wear Blue Day under Events. People can drop in on the conversation at any time and Ruppenthal isn’t expecting anyone to watch for the full 12 hours.

“I’m going to be open and honest and invite people to join the conversations,” he said.

“You will be supporting a very worthwhile cause that will help many men and women and support our Emergency First Responders in this province and across our great country,” Ruppenthal concluded. “Let’s make this happen together.”

Poster for Rick Ruppenthal’s June 18 talk-a-thon. (Photo submitted)

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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