Grief knows no municipal boundaries.
And when Burnaby mother Belinda Ruckman comes to Port Coquitlam on Aug. 7, she’ll be doing an act of kindness in memory of her beloved son.
Ruckman and her husband, Jim, have taken solace in the leafy Traboulay PoCo Trail along the Coquitlam River since their son, Reno, died from tainted drugs in 2019.
Now they want to give back by organizing a shoreline cleanup.
“The overdose crisis is affecting every community,” said Ruckman, who is hosting the event with the support of the city, City Avenue Market and Meridian Meats in PoCo, along with other businesses.
Ruckman said her son enjoyed the outdoors, especially playing basketball outside, so the litter clean-up will honour him.
But is also being done out of appreciation for PoCo’s natural areas along the river.
“We enjoy it and get a lot of healing there.”
Ruckman created the Reno Kindness Challenge (RKC) out of a desire to take some positive action in light of B.C.’s overdose crisis.
Reno's life was taken on Aug. 17, 2019, at the age of 24, from an accidental overdose due to fentanyl poisoning.
He worked at Big Star Sandwich Co. in Burnaby, where a fundraiser is being organized in his name, went to school in Burnaby and left behind a loving family.
“If we can find a way to turn his tragic death into something positive, perhaps his loss will not be in vain. He is missed by all who knew him and we want the immense love we have for Reno to be carried through in our kindness to others,” stated Ruckman in a news release.
Many parents search for the meaning in a child’s death and Belinda is no different: Part of her healing journey was to start a campaign aimed at inspiring people to connect to others through kindness.
She initiated RKC to raise awareness and help to end the stigma associated with mental health. She is also fundraising for Moms Stop the Harm (MSTH).
The shoreline clean-up in PoCo is another avenue for positive action, she said.
“It’s just a way of people getting together and being supportive and doing this act of kindness together.”
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup will take place Aug. 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. along the Coquitlam River starting at Lions Park in Port Coquitlam.
To join, you're encouraged to visit the initiative's website, click on the map and find The Reno Kindness Challenge; walk-ins will also be accepted.
Bags, gloves, cold drinks and snacks will be provided at the event along with goodie bags, and donations of picker tools are encouraged to assist with the litter clean up.
The meeting area will be set up beside the playground at the Meridian Meats tent.
Here’s how to connect:
- Instagram = @therenokindnesschallenge
- Facebook = @therenokindnesschallenge