Hamilton man plans 24-hour walk for overdose awareness fundraiser


Published July 13, 2022 at 3:16 pm

This weekend, Matthew Ravida will take a walk in Dundas Driving Park — for 24 hours continuously to raise awareness about the emotional toll and trauma caused by fatal overdoses.

The Hamilton mental health advocate has organized the 24-hour walk in order to spotlight the need for a new not-for-profit called Tony’s Tales, which is named after his late older sibling. As a youth in 2008, Ravida lost his 17-year-old brother Anthony to a drug overdose, although that cause of death was not confirmed until the past three years. The Hamilton community also has one of the highest opioid-related death rates in Ontario.

The walk will start at 3 p.m. Saturday (July 16) and wrap at the same time on Sunday. In a YouTube video, Ravida, who is a Kids Help Phone ambasssador, says the intent of starting Tony’s Tales is to provide support for people who have also lost people important to them to overdoses.

“I’m walking because there are so many stories like my brother Anthony’s that go unnoticed, not talked about,” says Ravida, who spent over two months at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s in-patient psychiatric program after his brother died. “And this is something that needs to change… the goal of Tony’s Tales is to provide space to people who have lost loved ones and siblings to overdose. I wish that 14 years ago when my brother passed away, I was able to have a support system and have resources to openly discuss his overdose.

“My brother deserves to have his story and his memory used to help others in this world.”

Through his Instagram, Ravida says about 25 walkers have signed up to join him this weekend at the park in Dundas (71 Cross St.), and about $3,000 has been contributed. Both Pita Pit and Starbucks locations have come on board to provide refreshments, including pitas and coffee, during the walk.

Representatives from Student Overdose Prevention & Education Network (SOPEN), which provides community engagement and knowledge about the opioids crisis, will also be distributing naloxone kits and training for those who are interested.

“They have done an amazing job already in the Hamilton community discussing this crisis and I am happy to have them involved in this journey with me,” Ravida recently wrote on Instagram.

Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan among others, is a medication used to reverse the effects of opioids.


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A post shared by Matthew Ravida☀️ (@mattravidam4q)

A donation page for the 24-Hour Walk For Overdose Awareness is available is beacons.ai/mattravida.

(Cover photo courtesy of Matt Ravida/Instagram, @mattravida4q).

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