Pedaling Past Stigma - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Pedaling Past Stigma

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Cyclists pedaled to great lengths Saturday for a fundraiser benefiting mental illness awareness.

For the tenth year, cyclists gathered to ride 33, 20, 10, or 5 miles to raise money for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The funds will provide free services in the community for those with mental illnesses.

"It allows people a place to be safe to feel loved to feel community," said Clementine Lindley, NAMI Billings executive director. "It's really easy to feel isolated with mental illness."

One hundred cyclists registered for the event this year. Many of them have been to the event before. Participating since 2009, Tyson Irion said this cause is close to his heart.

"I have a learning disability in math and writing and depression to a point and stuff like that, so I like helping them out," he said.

This year, he donated a bicycle to the organization for fundraising efforts.

"It's been a fight throughout my life," he explained. "And people with learning disabilities have a little bit of extra support to them and stuff to help them. Takes a little bit longer, but stuff like this will help people that don't have someone willing to help with it. And then, like my depression and stuff it's like a person doesn't do well on their own."

NAMI Billings holds this event to create a dialogue and understanding about mental illness. The organization hopes to raise $45,000 and help people "pedal past stigma, one mile at a time."