A 25-year-old woman from Ontario rollerblading across Canada has arrived in New Brunswick, after turning a personal loss into a campaign for change.
Ashley Gilbank, arrived in Fredericton, N.B. on Sunday after departing from St John's, Newfoundland on June 4 to raise awareness about youth mental health issues.
Gilbank started her campaign, called Skate 4 Life 2012, a year ago after a friend committed suicide.
"I started researching youth and suicide and I realized that it's the second leading cause of death amongst youth, I believe it's ages 12 – 24. I wanted to do something about it," she said.
"I definitely think about her a lot," Gilbank said. "I think about all the people she was close to, and I hope I can make them proud."
Gilbank has battled wind, rain, construction and now heat on her trek. She said the journey is worth it just for the chance to spread one message.
"Have conversations with your kids, with your parents, with anyone. A lot of people that we've talked to, their kids were the happiest kids in the world, and they had no idea they were suffering. You don't need to suffer in silence."
Along the way, she hopes to raise $60,000 for mental health charity Doing it for Daron.
Gilbank's husband, Pierre, is following her in a van.
"She wants to make an impact with it," he said. "She's doing it just for mental health – just to raise awareness for youth mental health across Canada. And I'm hoping she's going to do something spectacular with this."
Gilbank hopes to reach Victoria, B.C. by the first week of October.