Ruck It Up, a Moose Jaw charity focused on suicide prevention and awareness, held its fourth annual Wakamow Valley march on June 1, and recently presented a cheque to Journey to Hope Moose Jaw for $5,377. 

“We are beyond grateful to [Ruck It Up founders] Chris Robart, Tyler Simpson, and Brett Hagen for their phenomenal work on the Ruck It Up program,” said Della Ferguson, founder of Journey to Hope Moose Jaw. 

“Funds are all raised locally for Journey to Hope Moose Jaw, and the fact that they’ve kind of adopted us as a project to support means the world to us, in more ways than one. For sure in raising the funds, but also in raising awareness through such a beautiful, healthy wellness practice.” 

‘Rucking’ is simply walking with a backpack on, Brett Hagen explained. The term is borrowed from the military, where ruck marches are part of basic training. The rucking theme recognizes that professions like the military, police, firefighters, EMS, and other first responders are regularly exposed to difficult and traumatic circumstances. 

Hagen, Robart, and Simpson founded the charity because of their own personal experiences with mental wellness, in memory of friends lost to suicide, and as a way to promote getting outside for therapeutic exercise. 

They have raised over $25,000 at this point and have continually increased community awareness of and participation in their event. 

Della Ferguson accepts the donation cheque from Brett Hagen Della Ferguson accepts the donation cheque from Brett Hagen

The 2024 event included a pre-ruck with several local school classes, including students from Sacred Heart, St. Margaret’s, and high schoolers from Mortlach. 

They were also joined on June 1 by emergency first responders from around Moose Jaw.  

“We’re working on doing our third version of Getting Loud for Mental Wellness this fall,” Ferguson explained. “That’s a publication that’s about 40 pages long, that goes out not just locally in Moose Jaw, but it will go to surrounding areas. 

“We work with all local agencies who work on mental health and wellness practices and supports, and we try to highlight them to inform our community. So, the funds raised will go towards the production of Getting Loud for Mental Wellness.” 

Ruck It Up is on Facebook, and any questions can be sent to ruckitupmj@gmail.com.   

To learn about suicide prevention and awareness, mental health first aid, and suicide grief support, visit Journey to Hope Moose Jaw at journeytohope.synthasite.com.   

“We’re so grateful to our community for the support,” Ferguson added. “We’re seeing a change in how people are talking about mental health, how it’s an open topic. 

“We’re so grateful for the team at Ruck It Up for being a part of that, breaking the silence and the stigma.”