Incredible support for Journey to Hope
More than 200 people take part in suicide prevention, awareness and support event
There are few things that cause more unrelenting grief and mental pain than losing a loved one to suicide.
So many questions go unanswered; the often-unimaginable feeling of loss never subsiding, never relenting. Living through the sadness seems to be the only way, getting from day to day.
The Journey to Hope is here to help. The organization is there to assist in suicide prevention and awareness, as well as supporting those that have lost someone they love. The slogan ‘Hope-Healing-Honour’ says it all.
When close to 200 people packed the chapel at Jones Funeral Home on Sept. 22nd as part of the 2018 event, the sense of support was breathtaking, even for Journey to Hope facilitator Della Ferguson.
“It’s overwhelmingly humbling to be a part of raising hope and seeing the difference it can make and the passion people bring when they come here, having them believe along with us in the mission,” Ferguson said.
“Most people who come out have had someone die by suicide; that’s what brought them. It’s humbling but sad that we’ve had so many and it’s such a gift to see them come together for each other.”
The event featured a handful of speakers and performers who have dealt with sui- cide, with each relating their story of grief and heartache through their words or song. Having that opportunity and having the chance to do so among so many others who have been through similar situations is what makes the Journey so invaluable when it comes to the often-difficult healing process. “We’re offering that place where people realize they’re not alone and there’s a community of people who get it and understand and who are supporting each other,” Ferguson said. “It breaks the stigma because we’re actually going to talk about this and we want to hear about your loved one who died and their life.
“We want to know about their life because their life is not defined by their death and we want to help those who are struggling and let them know it’s okay to reach out. We want to empower people to move beyond the feeling of being burdened by their issues; [we want them to know] ‘I see you, I see that you’re struggling’ and this is empowering people to do that for each other.” Another major aspect of the program is fundraising for programs involving suicide prevention, with 2018 once again bringing in the kind of windfall that will offer as much help as needed for those who seek it – a total of $25,262, including $2,231 from the Ray Bell Memorial Raffle, $1,040 from the Gord Aitken Memorial Quilt Raffle, two annual Journey for Hope fundraisers. The largest donation came from Dawn Froats, whose #makeFroatsrow campaign saw her take to a rowing machine and row 100 metres for every $10 raised. The end result was 60,000 metres after a total of $5,500 was raised.
For some of the programs, the funds go to include training for people in suicide prevention, school screening programs for students who may be at risk and, most recently, the Trans Hope Fund through Moose Jaw Pride that supports those transitioning and the issues they may deal with. “[The fundraising efforts] all mean so much to us,” Ferguson said. “We try to offer as many programs as we can for suicide prevention and awareness and it all goes a long way to making that happen.”
Members of the Journey to Hope drum group perform ‘This is Me’ to close out the event.
Nicholas Henning (right) and J.D. Lemire were one of the performers on Saturday afternoon