CAMH celebrates the Pan Am Spirit
“Carrying the torch was like carrying hope!” said Catherine.
Patients, staff, neighbours, friends and family celebrated the arrival of the Pan Am Torch at CAMH July 9.
Over 200 people gathered at our Queen Street West site to cheer on CAMH’s President and CEO Dr. Catherine Zahn, official Pan Am torchbearer #41, as she carried the flame to CAMH.
It was an emotional, inspiring experience for everyone as Catherine ran through the cheering crowd and held the torch high. On stage she was welcomed by host Dr. David Goldbloom, Senior Medical Director at CAMH. “Catherine, welcome! You made it!” he said.
“Can you imagine 10 years ago CAMH being a destination for this event?” said Catherine. “The overwhelming feeling for me is that I am carrying this [torch] on behalf of the cause that we bring forward. There is no health without mental health.”
“It was absolutely wonderful – way more emotional than I thought it would be!” said Catherine.
Asked about the connection between the Pan Am Games and mental health Catherine said, “When you think of the athletes who have trained and the obstacles they’ve faced in their journey to achieve a dream, and then you think of the people we serve who also face obstacles; and if I were to choose the one important thing that enables their success it is that they have people who don’t give up on them. They have people who support them on and cheer them on to the end.”
The flame from Catherine’s torch was then transferred to the official Pan Am lantern and kept alight until the second leg of the relay started. Twenty minutes later the flame exited CAMH carried by Amy Fullerton, a nurse from Canmore, Alberta now living in Toronto.
Dozens of people gathered around to have their picture taken with the Pan Am Torch.
CAMH not only hosted the torch celebration but also served as a meeting and collection point for over 80 torchbearers who ran with the flame on day 40 of the 41 day relay.
The torch relay concludes on July 10, 2015, with the dramatic lighting of the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony in downtown Toronto.
A big thank you to Catherine and to everyone who cheered her on!
Follow Catherine on Twitter!