Matt Arnold digging out "Shakira" on Duthie Hill's Gravy Train with the Evergreen MTBA.
Words by Joshua Fulmer, Send It Society
I've tried to write this thing about 20 times now, I usually stop around here.
Send It Society's first display booth at Whistler Crankworx 2019.
Long Story Short
My riding partner and brother Matthew Arnold killed himself at the start of this year. I needed to give myself a reason to keep riding. I love it too much. But I was, and still am some days, too scared to do it "alone." Like anyone who loses someone they love, I fight daily against "what if" thoughts: "What if we just went on one more ride last season?" "Why didn't I notice?" "He was my brother. What was wrong with me?"
After I exited the armed service in 2014, it was Matt who helped save my sanity, and gave me the courage to keep me going on by getting us out riding. I founded the Send It Society to offer that same gift to others who struggle with mental health.
Matt Arnold at Stevens Pass, September 2017.
This article is about my non-profit, and the memory of a man in whose honor it was founded. Matthew Arnold would give anyone the time of day. As I've grown older, I've learned how much he gave with that. He was always happy to be with friends and make new ones, he was that dude that would be chatting trailside with you and somehow you end up grabbing beers later the same day. He was that dude that hit you up on Pinkbike for a trade deal and had you laughing while he haggled the price down.
Matt hated drops. The dude could clear Gravy Train (up to the last thrower) at Duthie Hill Bike Park, but he wouldn't hit the first drop on Voodoo half the time. We talked about things like mental blocks while riding and how that could translate to real life. We even spitballed the idea of a non-profit for riders to get together and just improve their quality of life.
Boy, do I still get mad at him though, I find myself looking away from this article to watch mountain biking movies, and Red Bull replays on the TV, just to keep my thoughts from going there. I know we hold no right to be angry with these people and the choices they make, but that doesn't help all the time.
Send It Society is a Non-profit with the mission of providing a non-clinical healing environment to raise awareness, bring education, and action to mental health through mountain biking and extreme sports.
What does that mean? It means we want people to go outside and be remember to find their happiness.
How do we approach this? We talk, we communicate, we move forward together, doing our best to show our friends, family, and strangers we can try to understand their lives, their struggle, and love them for who they are.
How do we accomplish this? Well, for now, I use the resources and tools I have to get people onto quality mountain bikes* and see what it feels like to let go of life and enjoy the dirt for what it is. For instance; we do a weekly ride with one guided trail run on a beginner course, then group laps divided by skill level, accompanied by conversations on mental health. We hope to break down stigma's about voicing your "problems", as well as guiding people to the proper resources they may not be aware they have access to.
What resources do we have? Current Bikes : Transition TR-250 // Transition Double // Banshee Scythe // Spank Tweet, Shuttle vehicles, and protective gear.
What are our future plans? Planned for the beginning of 2020 season, monthly weekend gravity trips, where we will take a group of riders to a resort for the weekend for some true gravity park fun.We're also working on a presence at more and more festivals, we went hard and sent it making Crankworx our first event, so we've got to keep the line rolling fast. Also, we're developing a race team to help bring more riders into the community around riding and racing.
How can I help? Spread the word, come ride, talk about mental health. Don't be afraid to trust your friends with your "problems." We all have them. If you are able to donate, we are still in our initial fundraising period with the goal to allow for me to focus on this full time and grow it into what it has the potential to be. Networking? If you know anyone in the industry that might be able to help us, please share our contacts info. Same goes on the mental health front. We are looking for like minded therapists, counselors and psychologists who we can recommend and work with for our participants.
One awesome Max Slater (Whistler Guides) saying hi!
Rough Start at Whistler
Crankworx (our first big show) was a solo run by me for the entirety of the festival and I had a point in time where it had been three days and I was on four hours of sleep over those; my mind and body had both had enough.
On my trip North to Crankworx I had a bit of a breakdown. It it was a little embarrassing to not have my booth up for two days of the festival. But, not only were the participants totally understanding on the following days, the Whistler staff was gracious and caring. Plus side? I got to run some laps!
Me riding Whistler laps with legendary Nick Zaback of CushCore fame.
For more information please feel free to contact: email@example.com or come see us at one of our upcoming events!. Website: http://www.senditsociety.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: (509) 731-4732