By Paul J. Henderson, The Times June 16, 2011
Doug Janzen is riding his 2002 BMW 650 Dakar 3,600 kilometres from Chilliwack to Inuvik to raise awareness about depression. Photograph by: Paul J. Henderson, TIMES When Doug Janzen tells people he is going to ride a motorcycle from Chilliwack to Inuvik, he knows they might think he's out of his mind.
And that's part of the point.
Janzen is hopping on his 2002 BMW 650 Dakar and leaving on a 3,600-kilometre journey on Father's Day to raise awareness about depression.
"When I talk to people or listen to people tell me about their depression experience, they feel very alone, very remote and that's the kind of thing I'm going to experience," he told the Times. "I'm going to be alone and isolated."
Another part of the analogy for Janzen is that depression can also be a "dangerous" place. The last 500 gravel kilometres of the Dempster Highway can be a treacherous and dangerous one indeed.
"If the road is in good shape and the weather is sunny, it's a good road," Janzen said. "But if there is rain or sinkholes it can be awful."
His departure on Father's Day is also a dedication to all the fathers of children fighting depression.
"Everyone knows someone with depression but nobody wants to talk about it," he said. "If people started to talk openly about depression, those who battle it would be more likely to get proper treatment; the stigma would be reduced."
Janzen said he has known half a dozen people who have committed suicide, which often can be the outcome of untreated depression.
His journey is more about raising awareness than funds, but if people want to donate, he hopes they will do so to the FORCE (Families Organized for Recognition and Care Equality Society) Society for Kids' Mental Health, which provides support and connections with other families dealing with depression.
"They are fantastic," Janzen said. "Because when teenagers are stricken with something like depression, it's very difficult to tell what's normal teenage behaviour and what's the disease."
Of course, for all the talk about raising awareness about depression, many off-road motorcycle enthusiasts will be jealous of his trip.
"It's not like something nobody has ever done before, and people have even done it solo," Janzen said. "I just thought I could make something useful out of a selfish trip."
- For more on FORCE visit www.force-society.com, and Janzen's journey can be followed at www.road2blue.com.
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" When teenagers are stricken with . . . depression, it's very difficult to tell what's normal teenage
behaviour and what's
the disease." Doug Janzen
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