Darius Sam, the 20-year-old man from Merritt who raised over $104,000 for the Nicola Valley Food Bank this spring, is in the final countdown to his “Run Against Addiction”.
On December 5, 2020, Darius Sam will run 100 miles to raise $50,000 to fund a men’s therapy program at Nicola Family Therapy.
I’m a huge Darius Sam fan, as regular readers are already familiar, and not because I know this fine young man. I don’t. We’ve chatted over text and email a few times, mostly so I could find out how best to support his efforts, but that’s all.
He’s just an incredible young man who is determined to help his community. Who can’t get behind such an inspiring young man at a time when we so desperately need local heros?
When Darius and I last talked, he said he wasn’t raising money this time primarily because his home town of Merritt doesn’t have an addiction recovery centre. The closest facility is in Kamloops, 97 kilometres away.
Much to my delight, yesterday I found three stories in BC Interior newspapers announcing Darius’ decision to fundraise for a free mental health program for men at Nicola Valley Community Human Services Association (NVHSA), better known as Nicola Family Therapy.
Nicola Family Therapy already has funding for free counselling programs for women and children, but nothing for men – a funding deficit Darius Sam hopes to solve.
“Men have to pay out of pocket. There’s no free programs or anything like that in Merritt,” he said.
From the Merritt Herald:
It’s a situation that hits hard for Sam – he himself sees a counsellor, and wants men to understand that there is absolutely no shame in receiving mental help.
“I understand that men need to deal with their trauma as well. Everybody has their problems. It’s such a stereotypical thing to say, ‘suck it up, don’t talk about it, and move on. I think that’s bulls—, honestly.”
Sam told the Herald that what sold him on the project was the story of a male in town who called, and called, and called around town with a cry for help. NFT took him in.
He spoke of the connection between addiction awareness and mental health – if you don’t deal with trauma properly, it can lead you down a slippery slope.
“I feel like we can help people not go in that direction, to create a free men’s counselling program here in Merritt. I think that that would be huge, and make quite the difference.”
Sheri Bishop, the executive director of Nicola Family Therapy, is running the GoFundMe page for Darius Sam’s run, and I encourage you to donate generously to support this young man’s efforts.
From the GoFundMe page for Darius Sam’s Run Against Addiction:
Want to join me in making a difference? I’m raising money to benefit Nicola Valley Community Human Services Association, and any donation will help make an impact. Thanks in advance for your contribution to this cause that means so much to me.
Darius Sam is an amazing man who inspired many during his first run to raise money for the Nicola Valley Food Bank this past summer, and he’s hitting the road again. On December 5, 2020, Darius Sam will once again tie up his laces and attempt to complete 100 miles to raise awareness on addictions in an effort to reduce the stigma associated with this mental health concern so prevalent in our community.
Darius reached out to Nicola Family Therapy (NFT) to talk about how he could help support our non-profit society. Nicola Family Therapy (legal name Nicola Valley Community Human Services Association) opened its doors in 1993 and has been providing counselling services to Merritt and Nicola Valley residents. Our mission at NFT is to provide professional, confidential counselling services, helping individuals to transform their lives through personal healing and positive life choices.
Specializing in trauma counselling, we meet people every day who have turned to substances and/or engaged in addictive behaviours to cope with the pain of unhealed trauma and emotional loss. Our number one goal is be accessible to all; however, trauma counselling services for men have traditionally be underfunded, leaving men responsible for paying out of pocket for much-needed services.
We hope to partner with Darius to raise enough funds to establish a Men’s Counselling Program, free to any man who walks through our doors. Within this program, we aim to hire a trained male counsellor, which will add to our existing team, providing more options for our clients.
It will then be our goal to work hard to secure funding dollars to keep the program running for years to come.
While we cheer on Darius as he pushes himself to complete another remarkable feat, we ask you to support NFT as we take on the challenge of expanding services to meet the needs of all members of our community.
In June, Darius Sam’s original goal was to raise $1,000 for the food bank. When his GoFundMe page hit $5,000 before he ran his first step, Darius Sam raised the goal to $14,000 – then raised almost ten times that by the time he crossed the finish line.
Previous commentaries on this inspirating young man: