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This shoreline clean up on the Coquitlam River has a deep message

This year's Reno Kindness Challenge aims to clean up litter along the river near Lions Park and support efforts to change drug policies in response to B.C.'s overdose crisis.
The Reno Kindness Challenge beach cleanup
Reno Ruckman died of tainted drugs in 2019 at age 24. His mother Belinda is set to honour his life by cleaning up a portion of the Coquitlam River's shoreline as part of the Ocean Wise Shoreline Cleanup on Aug. 15, 2022.

Stopping the harm is the message behind a litter clean-up planned for Aug. 15 in Port Coquitlam.

The Reno Kindness Challenge is being organized by Belinda Ruckman, whose son Reno died of tainted drugs in 2019 at the age of 24.

Ruckman said she and her son enjoyed the outdoors and the Shoreline Cleanup will be a way to preserve the environment, while also honouring her son's memory.

This is the second annual event and everyone is invited to join in, says Ruckman.

Funds for Moms Stop the Harm

To get the message across about the harm of toxic drugs, Ruckman said the event is also raising awareness and money for Moms Stop the Harm (MSTH).

Donations will be welcome at the event.

There will also be an assortment of gift baskets as part of a raffle to Raise Funds for MSTH.

"Our 2022 campaign and fundraiser recipient is Moms Stop the Harm (MSTH), a network of Canadian families impacted by substance-use related harms and deaths," states Ruckman.

"MSTH 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."

Last year, $3,280 was raised and donated to MSTH. This year, Ruckman hopes to raise the balance of the $24,000 goal.

How many drug overdoses are there?

According to the BC Coroners Service, there were 195 deaths from overdoses in May, the highest number ever recorded in the calendar month and a 20 per cent increase over the number of deaths in April. 

In Port Coquitlam, emergency personnel were called out to 58 overdoses in the city in the first six months of the year, and 187 in all of 2021, according to statistics presented to PoCo council recently by fire chief Robert Kipps.

The Shoreline Cleanup takes place rain or shine on Aug. 15, 10 a.m. at Lions Park, starting at the covered shelter near the playground an hour later.

Snacks and beverages will be provided for participants, including Wise Bites Snacks, Wise Tea Iced Tea, Coffee and ITL Health Magnesium.

To sign up for the Reno Kindness Challenge, create an account on the Ocean Wise Shoreline Cleanup web page, then click Port Coquitlam on the map. The Reno Kindness Challenge cleanup will display on the left side of the screen. Then click to join.

A GoFundMe page has also been started for MSTH through the Reno Kindness Challenge.