In­cred­i­ble sup­port for Jour­ney to Hope

More than 200 peo­ple take part in sui­cide preven­tion, aware­ness and sup­port event

Moose Jaw Express.com - - Front Page - Randy Palmer - Moose Jaw Ex­press

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

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