Langley firefighter Mark Butterworth hikes the Grouse Grind next month in support of mental health. In preparation for the fundraising trek, he’s been working out at the gym for weeks. (Steve McLay/Special to Black Press Media)

Lower Mainland firefighter carrying a huge weight

Langley’s Mark Butterworth tackling Grouse Grind to raise $2,500 for mental health

By Alex Wilks/ Special to the Langley Advance Times

Most Vancouverites hike the Grouse Grind for a good workout, but Mark Butterworth wants to tackle the mountain trek for a good cause.

“One in five Canadians are touched by mental health. We need to show our support so that more people will talk about it,” he said.

The 28-year-old, on-call firefighter has worked for the Township of Langley fire department for two years and in that time, he has noticed the emotional weight that first responders can carry every day on the job.

“A lot of workers used to follow this old-school approach and not talk about it, however, I want to try and help shed some light on stigmas around mental health illnesses,” he said.

Butterworth is challenging himself to dress in 74 pounds of firefighter gear and hike up the grind on Sunday, Aug. 11.

He has his sights set on a fundraising goal of $2500, that will be given to the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation for the local mental health unit. As of Thursday, he was already at the $2,000 mark, and expecting to exceed it.

“I will be wearing something called turnout gear,” he said. “It’s composed of three layers — the outer shell, moisture barrier, and thermal layer — and will include an air pack,” he said.

“It’s what we wear every day. It’s hot, keeping all the heat in and out. It’ll be quite difficult but a fun challenge that will get people talking.”

With an 853-metre elevation, taking the average hiker roughly 1.5 to two hours to complete, Butterworth has been actively training at the gym for weeks in preparation for the steep climb.

“I’m looking forward to just seeing all the smiles on the faces of the people who come out to do this with me… until they start going up, then that’ll change their mood,” he added with enthusiasm.

The Aldergrove resident noted that while the inspiration for the event, Hike the Grind came from his experiences as a first responder. Most people in their lives will suffer or know someone who suffers from anxiety, stress, or a more complex mental illness.

“If you take a step back you realize there are a lot of people out there that suffer in some form, they may even be people who you know or are close to,” he said.

“For me, it’s also [about] showing the support to the first responders who suffer from a lot of it as well.”

“Mental health is a prevailing factor in the daily lives of all first responders,” explained Nick Short, the co-director of the Township of Langley Firefighters Charitable Society.

“From our interactions with the public, our patients and our own members, first responders of all disciplines understand the impact that mental health has on our communities.”

The event will kick off from the main parking lot at the base of Grouse Mountain at 8 a.m.

Butterworth is expecting about 40 spectators, including some of his teammates from the hall and other members within the fire department.

“Our charitable society is looking forward to seeing Mark at the top of the mountain,” noted Short.

“It will be great to see him achieve his physical and fundraising goal after all the hard work and preparation he has put into making this event a success.”

When asked if the fundraiser will become an annual tradition, Butterworth said, “I kind of want to do this as a yearly thing to keep up with the challenge, keep the ball rolling, and keep people talking about it and raising funds.”

“Everyone has bad days and just being able to help and support as well as outreach people as much as I possibly can.”

Donations are being accepted leading up to the event through the GoFundMe page, Hike the grind! for mental health awareness.

“Langley is very fortunate to have a very dedicated and passionate group of first responders that live and work in this area,” said Short.

READ STORY ABOUT FIREFIGHTERS CHARITY

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: news@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

 

Adding 74 pounds worth of firefighting equipment will definitely make it a little challenging for Aldergrove’s Mark Butterworth to make his way up to the top of the Grouse Grind in the name of charity on Aug. 11. (Nick Short/Special to Black Press Media)

Just Posted

Letter: Time change has outlived its usefulness

More negative effects on people and communities then positive ones

Rotary duck race winners given sports car

First big win for Maple Ridge mother of three boys Jody Makela

Maple Ridge’s first retail cannabis store opens Monday

Spiritleaf is just the second private pot shop in the Fraser Valley

Burrards lose to Shamrocks in double overtime

WLA championship series moves to Maple Ridge Sunday

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Young balance-bikers race in B.C.’s inaugural Strider Cup

The course has several obstacles including ‘Mount Scary’ and the ‘Noodle Monster’

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Most Read