The 2024 Breakfast of Champions was worth waking up for

Featuring best-selling author Neil Pasricha, the morning inspired a sold-out crowd and launched an important dialogue about how we can all improve mental health

If there’s one word to describe the 2024 Breakfast of Champions, it’s this one: awesome

An excited crowd of close to 1,200 people woke up early and came together at RBC Place London on Tuesday, May 7 for this year’s event. It was a high-energy morning spent celebrating people making a difference in the region and hearing author Neil Pasricha share an optimistic message about enhancing mental wellness, every day. 

“Mental wellness is worth playing for,” Neil shared during his presentation. The Toronto-based author of “The Book of Awesome” is well known around the world for his insights on connection, happiness and gratitude. His tricks for “priming the brain to be a little bit happier”, building resiliency in the face of personal challenges and appreciating life’s simple pleasures resonated with everyone in the room.

Neil’s talk set the stage for a vital discussion about the future of mental health care. “We know that the prevalence of mental illness in our community and across the country is at an all-time high,” said Roy Butler, President & CEO of St. Joseph’s. “As Neil’s writings teach us, what matters is how we react to the problem. Looking ahead, there are many innovations and partnerships that we’re leaning into to address the complex and pervasive issue of mental illness.”

During the event, CMHA Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services presented the Champion of Mental Health & Addictions awards to two deserving winners: Ned Burwell, a tattoo artist, mentor and advocate who raises funds for mental health care through Semi Colon Tattoo Events; and Youth Opportunities Unlimited, an organization supporting youth with mental illness and addiction by raising awareness, providing resources and leading initiatives. Congratulations to the recipients and all of the nominees.

Later in the morning, Event Chair Will Heeman proudly introduced a special new fund through St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation that will make an immediate impact in the community. All event proceeds are being directed to a Patient Assistance Fund in Mental Health Care that will provide people receiving mental health care with personal, urgent items they might not otherwise have access to, particularly as they transition in and out of hospital. 

These include things like personal care kits, grocery cards, parking and transportation vouchers, warm winter weather clothing and other essential items to help people recover. For many of the people who rely on St. Joseph’s for care, these small acts of generosity can make an enormous difference. If you are interested in making a gift to the Patient Assistance Fund in Mental Health Care and giving a helping hand to people in need right now, please visit the link below.

Thank you to all of the guests for taking in part in a special morning that left everyone feeling a little bit lighter. 

“We can’t control our emotions. But we can control our reactions to our emotions,” shared Neil. 

Support the Patient Assistance Fund

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