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Mental Health Advocate, Baker Baha runs 42.2 km to honour the memory of his dear friend Fawwaz.
Mental Health Advocate, Baker Baha runs 42.2 km to honour the memory of his dear friend Fawwaz.

Mental Health Advocate, Baker Baha runs 42.2 km to honour the memory of his dear friend Fawwaz.

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Baker Baha's Jack.org Community Challenge Run

On Sunday May 30th at 6 AM, Baker Baha set off on a 42.2 km run for Jack.org’s Community Challenge. The weather was perfect, and he found that all the traffic lights were turning green for him! He set off to make good on his pledge to complete this run in under 4 hours to honour the memory of his dear friend Fawwaz, who died by suicide in February. Baker remembers Fawwaz to be kind, giving and brave. Their friendship was built on their shared experiences growing up as young men in the Middle East. Baker says that talking openly about mental health isn’t the norm, and that people often suffer in silence.

Baker’s run was supported by caring and thoughtful friends who were inspired by his Challenge. Not only did they support him in his fundraising; they were there every step along the way. At the 20km mark, some friends and even strangers who heard about his Challenge joined him, and when he made it to the finish line at Nathan Philip Square in downtown Toronto, a group of 30 friends beaming with pride awaited him. 

Baker’s action in the Community Challenge did so much more than raise funds to support Jack.org’s programs. Initially, Baker feared he might be alone in supporting the cause, and that his community wouldn’t understand this effort. But that was not the case. Baker was delighted to see that his courage and action inspired others to open their hearts and minds to speaking about mental health. He says, “My closest friends are opening up and talking about their mental health! I could have never imagined this change.” What a truly phenomenal way to honour the memory of Fawwaz.

Baker, you have changed lives, and moved us all. We’re so proud of you for fighting the stigma around mental health, and we’re so grateful to have you in the Jack.org family!

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Baha shares his journey of running his first marathon in support of youth mental health.