A P.E.I. man is embarking on a walk across the Island this Good Friday to raise awareness about suicide prevention, all while carrying a 23-kilogram wooden cross.
“I had a vision in the middle of the night and it was for suicide prevention, to help people that are in desperate moments get help, get through it,” said Vincent Adams.
The Charlottetown chiropractor was scheduled to fly to Spain last spring to walk the Camino de Santiago trail with his cross, as a fundraiser for the P.E.I. division of the Canadian Mental Health Association.
But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that trip never happened.
This year, Adams decided to continue the fundraiser.
“I realized that the people who have supported me through all of this are the people of the Island, the Islanders themselves,” he said.
“And they’ve been so generous and so loving that I decided, you know what, maybe things happen for a reason. I’m going to travel the Island.”
Adams plans to start in Charlottetown on Friday, April 2 and walk west to North Cape, then back east to East Point before heading back to end the journey in Charlottetown.
He estimates the trip will take him about 10 days.
I’ve seen lots of positive stuff, but I think there’s a lot of work to be done for suicide prevention.— Vincent Adams
Adams has done other fundraisers for mental health in the past, including running across the Confederation Bridge wearing a 45-kilogram vest.
“I think a lot has to do with everything I see as a physician in terms of people that come to me that are — a lot of people are suffering,” said Adams.
“The Island is amazing. And and I’ve seen lots of positive stuff, but I think there’s a lot of work to be done for suicide prevention.”
Along with his large wooden cross, Adams will carry smaller wooden crosses that his daughters have made.
People who donate to the fundraiser can write a name on a small cross of someone they know who has suffered from mental illness or died by suicide.
“Part of carrying the bigger cross is the little crosses are going to be on there as well,” said Adams.
Seeking solitude of walking trails
Originally, Adams planned to walk across P.E.I. using the larger highways to stay visible.
“But then the other day I was training and I was going on the Confederation Trail and I realized how important the solitude is going to be,” he said.
He’s now decided to walk part of the journey on the highway, and part on walking trails.
Islanders who are interested in donating to the campaign can visit the P.E.I. Cross to Bear Facebook page.