Mayoral candidate swims Tickle for mental health

St. John's Coun. Sheilagh O'Leary swam to Bell Island as a fundraiser for a mental health organization.
Sheilagh O'Leary speaks after her fundraising swim to Bell Island 1:54

Sheilagh O'Leary, a St. John's city councillor who running for the mayor's chair, took on a separate challenge Sunday as she swam to Bell Island as a fundraiser for the Canadian Mental Health Association.

O'Leary and several others swam from Portugal Cove to Bell Island through a channel known as the Tickle.

"It was rough, it was hard, but it was fantastic," said O'Leary after completing the swim, which had been postponed a day because of weather.

The CMHA launched the Tickle Swim for Mental Health to raise both money and awareness, and to tackle the stigma against people with mental illness.

O'Leary completed the five-kilometre swim in two hours.

"It was my bucket list item since I've been about 12 years old," O'Leary told CBC News.

"I told [mountain climber] T.A. Loeffler, and as soon as I told her, I knew I was going to have to do it, and bang, here we are."

The event was also meant to underscore how mental health can be strengthened by exercise and good physical health.

That said, O'Leary said she knew her limits. Asked how she was getting back to Portugal Cove, she joked, "I'm definitely not swimming."