January 20, 2022
2022 01 18 MSFMH 2 Fran

Everyone knows that getting fresh air is great for your mental health! For one Meewasin Trail lover, spending time outdoors is about much more than being outside – it is about building connections and purpose in a socially distanced, pandemic world.

2022 01 12 warmer walk bridges to bridges 1

In April of 2020, Frances set a goal to walk a million steps on the Meewasin Trail in support of two local community agencies: the Meewasin Valley Authority and the Canadian Mental Health Association, Saskatoon Branch. Her goals were to raise awareness about the links between physical and mental health, highlight the importance of the Meewasin Valley in linking the two, and raise money for the non-profits during tough times, one step at a time and one person at a time.

She also wanted to encourage others to get out and challenge themselves to 3500 steps every day and make that million step mark. “It just makes you feel strong and a bit more in control of what is happening, at least with yourself.”

On March 31, 2021, Fran surpassed her goal, completing 1,111,111 steps!

Frances notes it was not always easy, and some days were tougher than others. “Knowing I was walking for others gave me hope and motivated me to keep going. With each step I took with those who joined me along the way, we knew we were doing something important for ourselves and those we love. My walks help me feel more grounded and capable of meeting the demands of life during these stressful and anxious times. When I feel better, I can help others feel better. It is one thing I can do to get through the day no matter how I am feeling.”

She’s At It Again!

In April of 2021, Frances decided she was going to keep going and challenge herself again! With the pandemic showing no end in sight, she felt the need even more keenly. “This has been a particularly tough year for my family and friends. Focusing on the steps really helped keep me anchored and strong.”

Knowing how difficult this time has been for charities, Frances is hoping to raise $10,000 or 1 cent for every step. “This is achievable for the community – and so important. Now more than ever, everyone’s mental health has become a priority, something to protect and strengthen through the dark months and uncertain times.”

Today, Fran is on track to make her goal again by the end of March – and this time she wants others to join her! 3500 steps a day is all it takes to make 1 million steps … along the beautiful Meewasin in one year.  Start Your Challenge today!

If you would like to try your own Million Steps for Mental Health challenge, please contact Margot at mweiner@cmhasaskatoon.ca.

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If you would like to donate in support of Fran’s Million Steps for Mental Health, please visit:

Meewasin Valley Authority

About Meewasin Valley Authority – The Meewasin Valley Authority exists to ensure a healthy and vibrant river valley, with a balance between human use and conservation by:

  • Providing leadership in the management of its resources;
  • Promoting understanding, conservation and beneficial use of the Valley; and
  • Undertaking programs and projects in river valley development and conservation, for the benefit of present and future generations.

 There are 67 square kilometers of land and over 90km of established trail, which has seen up to 1.87 million trail visits per year, in the Meewasin Valley. The area also features sites that help people to connect to nature through experiences such as Beaver Creek Conservation Area, the Northeast Swale, Saskatoon Natural Grasslands, the River Landing Spray Area, and the Cameco Meewasin Skating Rink @Nutrien Plaza. Meewasin is a non-profit organization that relies on donations and volunteers for sustainability. To get involved or learn more visit www.meewasin.com

Contact Andrea Lafond at Meewasin at (306) 665-6887 or alafond@meewasin.com for an interview, questions or concerns.

CMHA Saskatoon

About Canadian Mental Health Association – Saskatoon Branch – The Canadian Mental Health Association Saskatoon Branch was established in 1948. We have grown and changed over more than 70 years, providing community based, mental health services and programs. We are members of the provincial and national CMHA federation. Our vison is “mental health for all”. 

Contact Faith Bodnar CMHA Saskatoon at (306) 220-5201 or fbodnar@cmhasaskatoon.ca for any questions regarding CMHA Saskatoon programs and services.

Follow #millionstepsformentalhealth or like the Facebook page to show your support for Frances and this amazing initiative