This charity event is intended to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with seeking treatment for mental health. We hope this will be an unforgettable event that raises funds for a great cause. We invite you to join us in a charity run or walk to raise funds for the Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary Region (CMHA Calgary). Participants have the option of running or walking 10 kilometers on Saturday, October 23rd at Prince's Island Edward Park. If you would prefer to show your support financially, please donate through the Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary Region link below.
My motivation and why you should donate…
On May 19 2018, I received a phone call that no one should ever have to receive. It was to inform me that my older brother Greg had taken his life. He had struggled with mental health and addiction for the majority of his teenage and adult life. He decided his recent struggles were too much to bear and wanted the pain to finally stop. One phone call and things would never be the same. A flood of guilt and hopelessness washed over me. How could this have happened? What could I have done? My world felt like it was spinning out of control.
Little did I know, it was just the beginning.
A year and a half later (Nov 3rd 2019), the unthinkable happened. I received another phone call telling me that my oldest brother, Chris, had taken his life. He ingested a medical substance that stopped his heart. He left behind two beautiful boys and a wonderful life in Toronto. I refused to believe it. Nothing made sense. He didn’t have the same struggles as Greg and he witnessed the pain that his death had caused. I came to realize his sadness was silent and I would never fully understand his internal struggles. The void inside of me felt like it could never be filled. So much loss and so much pain in such a short time. I could feel the scars being etched into my heart. My brothers were gone and there was nothing I could do about it. I knew these feelings and moments would forever change my life.
My nephews (Jack and Riley), my younger sister Katy and my parents (Bob and Linda) live on with heavy hearts. The story of Greg and Chris unfortunately doesn’t have a happy ending, but I hope by drawing attention to the topic of mental health and providing financial support through this charity, we can help change the fate of others.
I hope sharing my story will encourage others to do the same. I have always had a difficult time discussing my feelings and being vulnerable. I hope someone else, who is like me, reads this and realizes that it’s okay to open up and discuss your internal struggles. The stigma that we’ve created around mental health serves as a barrier for people who need professional help, and it can have deadly consequences if it isn't' treated. Please join me in pushing back on this stigma “one step at a time”