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Chat4Chad has profound impact in short time

'Learning not to judge and to be kind can have a huge positive impact in the lives of the people we care about most'

Rooted is all about the people and the places that make us proud to call our community home.             


 It has only been a few months, but Chat4Chad is a local organization that has already had a significant impact on the community.  

“Chat4Chad was established in honour of my brother, Chad Ringler, who lost his battle with mental illness in January of 2023,” says Wade Ringler.   

“Chad was a highly respected Captain with North Bay Fire and Emergency Services, a member for 27 years.  Chad helped many people throughout his life and career, to honour him we hope to continue helping and providing support in his memory, with the goal of making days brighter for individuals who are struggling. Chad was an extremely kind and thoughtful person who was always there for anyone who needed him, you could count on him for anything.” 

The goal of Chat4Chad is to bring awareness, resources, and funding to help aid in the battle against mental illness.   

“We encourage people to talk, as our slogan says ‘Chat EARLY.OFTEN.NOW.’  We need to give individuals the tools and resources they require in order to cope with the pressures of today. “ 

Ringler says talking to someone else can make a huge difference.  

“If we make it normal to talk EARLY, the outcomes will be much brighter down the road. It has to be something we do OFTEN, like anything in life, the more we do it, the better we get at it.  Doing it NOW, is the last piece, waiting does not make the struggle disappear. We encourage everyone to talk now, in order to prevent things from mounting. By Chatting EARLY.OFTEN.NOW.  we can start winning the battle against mental illness.” 

World Mental Health Day is next week on Tuesday, October 10 and Ringler says it's a good time to remind everyone that the Mental Health crisis is rising in our society and in our community and it is something we need to pay attention to.  

“Removing the stigma associated with mental health is crucial and step one in a successful recovery.  It is important to understand that mental health struggles reach everyone, it does not discriminate. Learning not to judge and to be kind, can have a huge positive impact on the lives of the people we care about most. In my experience, talking helps, that’s not saying it is easy and sometimes it may feel impossible, but more often than not, on the other side of the conversation, you feel better.” 

Through fundraising, the organization has been supporting patients who are receiving care through mental health programs at the North Bay Regional Health Centre. Ringler says those include, “Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit, Acute Inpatient Psychiatry Unit and Withdrawal Management Services.”

He says, “We hope to assist in preventing repeat hospitalization; in areas where community supports are lacking and in situations where supports are not available to promote a successful recovery.” 

Ringler says these partnerships came about because the emergency services personnel form a tight-knit community and are always there for each other, especially in tough times. He adds, “The support from the police and paramedic services has been incredible from day one and we are forever grateful. The North Bay Police Association recently hosted a charity golf tournament in support of Chat4Chad. The tournament sold out quickly and was a first-class event that will help so many people.” 

Ringler also says the partnership with the North Bay Regional Health Centre is one that aligned perfectly with the vision and focus his family had.   

“The foundation’s team had been instrumental in the development and implementation of Chat4Chad. Through the Hospital Foundation we can accomplish our goal of helping as many people as possible and ensuring accountability to Chat4Chad donors.  It is important to me and my family that we are having a positive impact on our community, in Chad's honour.” 

This past summer Ringler and his family organized a gala event that was a huge success.  

“Our event hosted 210 guests and sold out in under 90 minutes.  Chat4Chad raised nearly $160 000 which will help support mental health programs at the North Bay Regional Health Centre.  It was a memorable and powerful night that brought so many people together, all with the common goal of encouraging individuals to Chat EARLY. OFTEN. NOW. We are very pleased to confirm the 2nd Annual Chat4Chad Gala will be held on May 25, 2024, at the Canadore College aviation hanger. More details and sponsorship opportunities coming soon!” 

Ringler says they have felt truly blessed to have received that kind of support from the community through just a few events this summer.   

“Chat4Chad doesn’t exist if not for the incredible support of our community. The support speaks volumes about the person Chad was and the people he helped. My family and I are passionate and driven to ensure we do whatever we can, in Chad’s honour,  to help promote good mental health.  Our family, friends, and community have given us so much strength during the most difficult time of our lives.  This is an important part of our healing journey.”  

If you have a story idea for “Rooted” send Matt an email at [email protected]  

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Matt Sookram

About the Author: Matt Sookram

Matthew Sookram is a Canadore College graduate. He has lived and worked in North Bay since 2009 covering different beats; everything from City Council to North Bay Battalion.
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