A Niagara-on-the-Lake man is preparing to swim from the Queenston boat launch to the gazebo in Queen’s Royal Park to raise awareness and money for mental health.
Besides drawing attention to the crisis in mental health, Dylan Rumsey wants to help Niagara’s Pathstone Mental Health Foundation and has launched a GoFundMe with a goal of raising $7,500.
As of Wednesday, June 22, it had already hit $6,270.
Rumsey has dealt with mental health issues for several years and said he wants to “send a message for the kids that are struggling and feel like there’s no hope. If you train hard enough and focus on something hard enough you will be able to succeed.”
When he enters the water of the Niagara River on Aug. 13, Rumsey plans to start about 300 metres offshore to avoid strong currents.
Along with many supporters, his trainer Scott Paines “will be beside me with a life jacket following and monitoring me the whole way,” said Rumsey.
They will be accompanied by other people on paddle boards and in boats, all coming out to show their support and help along the way.
“I’m not a trained swimmer by any means, so I see it as if you put your mind to something, you can make it possible, as long as you stay focused and determined,” Rumsey said.
Rumsey said he is training four to five hours most days to prepare.
It’s been a long journey for him, “off and on for two years. I wanted to do this last year, but I have gone through a lot lately.”
“I just restarted training, around February and it’s been pretty vigorous, with my swimming workout in the mornings and my conditioning training starting every day at 2 a.m.,” said Rumsey.
Coupled with work it makes for an exhausting routine.
Now in his mid-20s, he was at Pathstone throughout his younger years and has “been in and out of hospitals” for about 12 years, said Rumsey.
Along with his own experience at Pathstone, “I have a friend who passed away in a train accident, he has a bench that was donated to him there. His younger step-brother and sister are also at Pathstone.”
Thanks to Rumsey’s experience at Pathstone, he said, “it is nice to be able to give back to the people that were trying to help me.”
“I am trying to make a little bit of a difference in the health system and the justice system,” he said.
Along with Rumsey’s journey to better himself through the swim and boost awareness, he hopes to create a non-profit foundation in the future to help kids get “back into a normal life or daily routine.”
As a victim of trauma as a teen, he wants to try to ensure others don’t endure what he has been through.
“I struggle to get up in the mornings, work two jobs,” he said, adding no one should be “paying hundreds of dollars for therapy.”
Donations to Rumsey’s GoFundMe in support of Pathstone can be made online at https://gofund.me/8bf2f232.