In 2017, when New York City attorney and avid cyclist Mac Dorris founded the Ride for Mental Health in New Paltz, New York, it was a way to find hope, healing, and purpose after the sudden and tragic loss of his son, Eric.
At this year’s event in June, 464 riders, along with sponsors, volunteers, and virtual participants from around the world, helped push the total amount raised to date for mental health services to over $1 million dollars.
The Ride for Mental Health delivered a check this year for $235,000—its largest so far—to McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School and the nation’s No. 1-rated psychiatric hospital.
Donations were also made to the New Paltz Youth Program and The Maya Gold Foundation. In addition, the New Paltz Youth Program and the Kingston (NY) YMCA each received 15 youth-size bicycle helmets courtesy of event sponsor Bern Helmets.
“This event was inspired by Eric, and I know he would be happy knowing how we’re helping individuals and families who have been impacted by mental illness, as well as people here in the local community,” said Dorris.
“I’m so grateful to all the riders and volunteers who helped make this year’s Ride for Mental Health our best one yet, and I can’t wait to start planning for 2023.”
Eric Dorris, who struggled with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and other disorders, died at 21 from an accidental overdose while an outpatient at McLean. For his father, the ride has helped to light a path forward out of profound grief.
That spirit of hope, community, and resilience has grown stronger in New Paltz each year, as more and more riders and volunteers gather to raise money for mental illness education, research, and treatment.
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