NV jogger advocates for mental wellness

? Jog4Joy, a five-kilometre walk/run in support of the Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation, Sunday, Oct. 14, at 9: 30 a.m. in Vancouver's Devonian Park (corner of West Georgia and Denman streets. Info and registration ($30): jog4joy.com.

IN the year leading up to her 40th birthday, Tina Moore decided to change her life.

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Despite having never exercised, the North Vancouver resident set a goal of running 40 kilometres on her upcoming special day and committed to living better in her 40s than her 20s and 30s.

Moore was armed with more than just a goal of physical fitness; rather, having a background of depression, anxiety and panic attacks, she wanted to take control of her life and viewed the aim as a perfect means of transformation.

"Through that process, I realized that my depression lifted and I had a way to manage my anxiety and it was life-changing," she says.

Accomplishing her goal, both physically and mentally, Moore, 43, continues to find jogging to be an important means of managing her mental health and has allowed her to live a more joyful life.

Desiring to help others similarly reap the benefits of physical health and mental wellness, she recently launched Jog4Joy. The organization's mission is to raise awareness of mental health and the importance of making it a priority in people's lives.

"Mental and emotional wellness affects all other areas of your life. That's the thing, inside your head is what affects everything else - your sleep, how you eat, your job performance, your relationships with your friends, your family. It affects it all," she says.

Further motivating Moore was an unsuccessful suicide attempt made by a younger member of her family two years ago. For Jog4Joy's inaugural event, Moore has partnered with The Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation, a Whistler-based non-profit working to prevent depression-related suicide in young people.

She's organized a five-kilometre fundraising walk/run Sunday, Oct. 14, at 9: 30 a.m. in Vancouver's Devonian Park.

The event is being timed with World Mental Health Day, marked Wednesday, Oct. 10.

It's rare to find someone who hasn't been impacted by mental health challenges, either personally or through their family and friend networks, says Moore.

"I haven't come across anyone yet that when I talk openly about myself and my story that they don't have something they can relate to," she says.

"And I think that's the key, is to open up and talk about it," she adds.

Moore's work as a singing, and speech and drama teacher at North Vancouver's Long & McQuade also contributed to her decision to found Jog4Joy.

"I have a very close relationship with my students. I really invest in them," she says. "They share their anxiety and from what I've seen, it's getting worse, it's not getting better.

"There's a lot of very overwhelmed kids out there that have very high anxiety, dark thoughts, they're struggling," she says.

Moore encourages community members and families to join her at next weekend's event, organized to be both joyful and empowering for participants through its theme: Believe.

"To come together and create that energy, that's a very important part of it because it's telling people that you care and that you know that this is a serious issue and it needs attention," she says. "It needs the funding."

For more information on Jog4Joy's upcoming inaugural fundraising Stanley Park walk/run, visit the organization's website, jog4joy.com.

emcphee@nsnews.com

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