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Shoreline clean-up in Port Coquitlam honours young victim of B.C.'s toxic drug crisis

The Reno Kindness Challenge shoreline clean-up will be held on Aug. 9, 2023 at Lions Park in Port Coquitlam.
The Reno Kindness Challenge shoreline clean-up will be held in Port CoquitlamÂ’s Lions Park in memory of Reno Ruckman. | The Reno Kindness Challenge

A local mom is hoping to raise thousands of dollars to support Moms Stop The Harm (MSTH) while also cleaning up the Coquitlam River shoreline in Port Coquitlam.

Belinda Ruckman, whose son Reno passed away in 2019 from an accidental overdose due to fentanyl poisoning, is hoping to create awareness and honour her son.

She started The Reno Kindness Challenge with a GoFundMe page and an annual shoreline clean-up.

The goal is to raise $24,000 for MSTH, a group that advocates for a change in failed drug policies and provides peer support to grieving families and those with loved ones who use or have used substances.

“Their vision is that people who use drugs are not criminalized and that their rights are respected. This non-profit group has our support and we are hoping you will also embrace the mission of MSTH.”

As well, The Reno Kindness Challenge encourages people to embrace kindness to others as a way to improve well-being.

This year, The Reno Kindness Challenge shoreline clean-up will take place along the Coquitlam River, meeting at Lions Park in PoCo, on Wednesday, Aug. 9 at 10 a.m.

The meeting place is at the playground at the covered shelter. There will be refreshments and snacks on hand for participants.

“We will connect through conversations while we show kindness towards each other and the river shoreline,” states the community bulletin.

Prizes will also be raffled off with proceeds going to MSTH.

Reno was 24 when he died and left behind his parents, Jim and Belinda, and brother Riley.

The Reno Kindness Challenge is a way to remember him while also supporting others.

“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. Reno’s spirit will guide our way,” the GoFundMe page states.

Since a public health emergency was declared in April 2016, at least 12,264 B.C. residents have died from overdoses. More than 32,000 Canadians have died of toxic drug overdoses since 2016, according to data released by Health Canada in December.

To take part in The Reno Kindness Challenge shoreline clean-up please register here.