Always be kind to each other
The community gathered on November 4 to honour the memory of 14-year old Amanda Grennan, who committed suicide in August.
The Rise Above memorial was a chance for family and friends to share memories of their time with Amanda and talk about issues surrounding mental health.
Amanda’s friend Amanda Spratt initiated the event and family friend Jem Houzaife was the organiser.
‘‘My heart is broken as a mother to see Amanda Grennan’s mother and family and friends try to cope with life without their beautiful girl,’’ Ms Houzaife said.
‘‘If only anyone who passed away through suicide knew how much they were loved.’’
Many tears were shed on the day, but the event was lightened with fun activities, which is what Amanda would have wanted, according to her friends and family.
There were jelly-eating competitions, guest speakers, live music and a fashion show in honour of Amanda’s love of fashion and fun.
SLANG Streedance Community choreographed an original show for Rise Above with dancers from as far away as Ballarat, Stawell, Colac and Maryborough.
There were guest speakers from Lifeline, Riverina Bluebell, Ignite Life Church and Health and Lifestyles Retreat Berrigan who all spoke about depression and mental health.
Members of the community donated gifts for the raffle and all proceeds went to supporting the Grennan family.
Cobram BP, Barooga General Store, CSIS and an anonymous person all gave donations.
Ms Houzaife said Rise Above was started as a oneoff event, but she hoped it would become an ongoing group to provide resources and contacts to help spread awareness and support for mental health.
‘‘Whatever your problem is you are facing, there is always someone who will help you,’’ she said.
‘‘You are not alone. Talk to someone, whether it is a friend a relative or a hotline. Never give up hope.
‘‘A new day is waiting for you to live, to enjoy. Life is not always so hard, it has its moments.
‘‘There will be joy. You will rise above.’’
Ms Houzaife thanked the organisations that helped make the day a success, including Moira Shire for providing park hire and public liability, Teen Challenge, Childsplay Amusements, Apex, Brews Bus Coffee, St Johns First Aid, Bourke Hire, Brian Hicks Transport, Henna by Azeesa, Lifestyles Merchant Stylists and Prop hire and Cobram Hotel.
‘‘Lastly, Amanda’s mum would like everyone to be kind to one another,’’ Ms Houzaife said.
‘‘Talk to each other, your friends and family.’’
For assistance, please phone Lifeline’s 24-hour suicide help line on free-call 131 114. Children and young adults aged under 25 can also call the Kids Helpline on freecall 1800 551 800.
Look after yourself: Holistic health coach and nutritionist Gracie Balev embraces an attendee after speaking at the memorial for Amanda Grennan.
Memorial: Amanda Grennan took her own life aged 14.