It was 2017 when Mt. Laurel native Samantha “Sami” Sorid held her first “Move for Mental Health” charity bike ride at Laurel Acres Park in Mt. Laurel.
At the time, Sorid had just started her senior year at Lenape High School, and as an active member of the Team Evesham bike team, the ride allowed her to combine her two passions – a passion advocating for better mental health awareness and passion for cycling.
Fast forward two years, and now Sorid finds herself organizing her second “Move for Mental Health” charity bike ride, with the event once again set to take place at Laurel Acres Park on June 2.
Sorid’s connection to mental health awareness began in early childhood, as it was around age 3 when she was first diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder – a condition that caused her to lead a life of repeating certain rituals, having certain reoccurring thoughts and experiencing impulses to touch certain objects in certain ways.
Yet through it all, along with the support of family and friends, Sorid kept control of her condition and lived her life as she wanted.
Sorid would eventually join National Honor Society at Lenape High School, plan her first “Move for Mental Health” charity ride in 2017, graduate Lenape in 2018 and recently finish up her freshman year at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
Sorid’s work in advocating for better mental health support also led her to be selected last year as one of the four student recipients of the Lenape Regional High School District’s Volunteer Service Awards .
“It is important to me to open up and share my story of success with others to break the stigma of mental health issues,” Sorid said.
Now Sorid hopes to build on the success of her first “Move for Mental Health” charity bike ride, which attracted more than 200 riders and raised about $12,000 from riders, members of the public and local businesses.
To that end, this year’s ride will raise money for King’s Crusade, a Marlton-based nonprofit organization that Sorid describes as supporting those affected with alcohol and substance abuse disorder, as well as their families.
The charity was founded several years ago by sisters Suzanne Harrison and Anne Gutos – named in honor of their brother King Shaffer, who died of an overdose from a lethal batch of heroin laced with fentanyl in October of 2016 just days away from his 50th birthday.
“I want to let people know that there is help available and that problems can be overcome,” Sorid said.
Those interested in learning more about the upcoming “Move for Mental Health” charity bike ride or the nonprofit organization of the same name that Sorid started can visit www.moveformentalhealth.org.
To learn more about King’s Crusade, visit www.kingscrusade.org.