Newfoundland swimmer aims to raise mental health awareness on the Mira River in Cape Breton
Kimberley Davis has been going for a lot of dips in Cape Breton's Mira River these days.
The St. John’s, N.L. resident is in Nova Scotia caring for her mom, but she hasn't forgotten a cause near and dear to her heart in Newfoundland.
Davis is training for Newfoundland's Tickle Swim for Mental Health, a fundraising event she has participated in for the past seven years. But this year will be different.
"I will be swimming my five-kilometre swim from right here, in beautiful Mira River in Cape Breton”, the longtime swimmer and triathlete told CTV Atlantic.
The annual Tickle Swim runs between Portugal Cove and Bell Island in Newfoundland. It's a fundraiser for the Canadian Mental Health Association that typically draws more than 20 swimmers. Davis has participated since the inaugural event.
"It's mostly about raising awareness about how exercise and physical activity - be that swimming, walking, jogging, running, biking - can indeed help to increase your mental health capacity and keep you healthy," Davis explains.
Originally from Cape Breton, the 56-year-old has been back in Nova Scotia for the past four months helping care for her nearly 90-year-old mother, who is recovering from a stroke.
Davis has been able to swim at a friend's cottage on the Mira while working remotely and being her mom's primary caregiver.
"Knowing that I grew up swimming here and that I could still participate in this great mental health awareness event from Cape Breton., I just decided that I could take it on from here," Davis said.
Longtime friend Diane MacDonald hopes that once Cape Bretoners become aware of Davis's cause, they might help her towards her fundraising goal of $1,500, which she has managed to reach each year.
"That's the main reason for this. Everyone should be behind her cause for mental health," MacDonald says.
Participating in the swim remotely means that Davis's mother might be able to watch.
"It's nice for her to be able to see something that I've been doing for a number of years that means something to me," Davis said.
Davis is also a breast cancer survivor and says her message is that physical health and mental well-being go hand-in-hand.
"Get out - walk, bike, swim, hike - it really does make a big difference to your mental health," she says.
Davis’s swim is planned for Saturday, July 31, finishing at Albert Bridge.