Like hundreds of viewers in the Humboldt area and thousands across the country, members of the current Humboldt Broncos were gathered around the TV awaiting the fate of one of their own. Tuesday night was the season finale of the Amazing Race Canada with 2018 Bronco Ty Smith and his partner Kat Kastner in the final three pairs competing for the title.
Tyler is a survivor of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash that claimed 16 lives. It was a long road to recovery from his physical injuries for the young hockey player. What lingered after his body had largely healed was a darkness he worked to combat, mostly in silence. The road to mental health for Tyler, as for millions of people, continues, but with a new understanding that he is “Not Alone.”
It was his own experience that led Tyler to forge ahead and create No Alone Co., an enterprise dedicated to ensuring that people have an avenue to have important conversations about mental health. He embarked on speaking engagements, talking not only about his own experiences and discoveries, but sharing the understanding that people do not have to suffer with mental health issues in silence.
He was joined on his Amazing Race Canada journey by Kat, a resilient and sparkling young woman who revealed her own mental health struggles. Together, the pair braved all the challenges The Race could throw at them, especially since a pair of early wins marked them as strong competitors.
In a post-finale interview with Bill Harris of Bell Media’s The Lede, Kat admits their front-runner status sometimes led to complications.
“I think we had a target on our back by winning the first two legs early on. And we surprised ourselves with that as well, because we didn’t know what kind of racers we would be. We wanted to see how far our ‘kill ’em with kindness’ strategy could take us.”
With a combination of determination, wit, stamina and their relentless support of each other, the duo overcame obstacles to find themselves in the final. Even in a desperate moment when the pair had left their critical IDs in a cab, Ty supported Kat through her perceived blunder and the two made up time. The final nail-biting crossword challenge gave all three teams everything they could handle, but the “lightbulb went on,” and the duo raced to the finish line to greet show host, Olympian Jon Montgomery.
Ty credits the “sixteen angels” that guided the pair throughout their journey and will remain with them into their lives together.
Needless to say, social media accounts from the Broncos and Humboldt and area residents streamed with well wishes. The pair is hoping to use their winnings to settle down, continue their journey together, and promote their cause of supporting youth and adults in strengthening mental health.
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