Wayne Cho uses running as a way to control the symptoms of his anxiety disorder.
Now Cho, 34, is running across Canada to raise awareness for mental illnesses, making a stop in Calgary at the Alberta Health Services and Mental Health Association yesterday.
“I want to let people know there is no shame in having the illness. It’s better that they be open about it and get treatment properly,” said Cho.
Cho, from Toronto, found out a few years ago that he has general anxiety disorder, which he describes as being a chronic worrier, when he returned to school.
“I have a hard time letting go. I get physical symptoms where I get tense, restless and problems with speaking.”
Cho started running in May 2008 in St. John’s, N.L., and hopes to finish by mid-June in Victoria, B.C., while running about 35 kilometres a day.
He used his own money to fund the run, but needed to take out a loan to finish. Cho has encountered support from people he has met.
In Indiana Head, Sask., one of the shop owners invited him to spend the night and fixed him dinner and breakfast.
Cho has stopped and talked to students, clubs and mental health groups along the way.
“I hope they can take the message and speak up for mental health. I’m encouraging people to (speak) up about mental illness one voice at a time.”
To follow his run, visit crosscanadarun.com.