Lights in Cort­ney’s mem­ory

Cort­ney Lake’s fam­ily raises Christ­mas tree in her mem­ory, and to draw at­ten­tion to vi­o­lence against women

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial - BY JUANITA MERCER tele­[email protected]­

Some say that find­ing a dime means a de­ceased loved one is look­ing out for you.

“We found a dime un­der the tree,” said Donna Walsh, Cort­ney Lake’s aunt. “For any­one that’s a bit spir­i­tual, we felt her pres­ence here to­day.”

Lake’s fam­ily held a tree­l­ight­ing cer­e­mony Dec. 14 at St. David’s Park in Mount Pearl to honour Lake’s mem­ory and to shed light on the is­sue of vi­o­lence against women.

“We put all pur­ple lights on it,” said Lake’s mother, Lisa Lake. “Pur­ple is not only Cort­ney’s favourite colour, it also sym­bol­izes vi­o­lence against women. And if there were more stricter laws, Cort­ney would be here with us tonight.”

The 24-year-old mother of one has been miss­ing since June 7, and po­lice have clas­si­fied her dis­ap­pear­ance as a homi­cide. Her fam­ily and con­cerned ci­ti­zens con­tinue to search for her body.

Lisa Lake says the fam­ily and those helping with the search have be­come very close, call­ing them “fam­ily.”

That group of searchers, dubbed Search An­gels, are also work­ing with Lake’s fam­ily to raise aware­ness about vi­o­lence against women. The group and Lake’s fam­ily teamed up to raise money for the St. John’s Women’s Cen­tre.

The cen­tre’s co-or­di­na­tor, Natasha Bader-Dens­more, ac­cepted the do­na­tion at the tree­l­ight­ing cer­e­mony.

“It’s going to fund our newly de­vel­oped ROAR (Re­build­ing Our­selves Af­ter Abu­sive Re­la­tion­ships) group. That’s a 16week ther­apy group for women to work on the pain and the is­sues, and the things that come from the im­pacts of vi­o­lence,” Bader-Dens­more said

Hours be­fore Lake was last seen, her for­mer boyfriend, Philip Smith, pleaded guilty to as­sault­ing her, breach­ing or­ders to stay away from her and her mother, and dis­tribut­ing in­ti­mate im­ages of her.

At the tree light­ing, Lake’s fam­ily re­called some spe­cial Christ­mas mem­o­ries.

“Last Christ­mas, she and I went to Costco,” said Walsh. “She loved going shop­ping at Costco. She never had a mem­ber­ship, so it was al­ways, ‘Aunt Donna, are you going to Costco to­day? Pick me up.’ So, we’d go to Costco, and she’d just buy all kinds of Christ­mas stuff. She just loved it.

“And she wanted to go early — her tree was up in Novem­ber last year. And then when it was up, she’s like, ‘Why haven’t ye got your trees up? Come on!’ And she’d rally us all to get into the Christ­mas spirit. So, that’s what we’re do­ing tonight.”

Walsh says the fam­ily and searchers will con­tinue look­ing for Lake, but notes win­ter is com­ing, and snow will put a halt to the searches.

She says that will not stop them from ad­vo­cat­ing for other women and keep­ing Lake’s mem­ory alive. The fam­ily is al­ready plan­ning an event to mark her birth­day in Fe­bru­ary.

Mean­while, the tree will re­main lit with pur­ple lights through­out the hol­i­day sea­son.

“So hope­fully as cars pass by here, they’ll look in and see the pur­ple,” said Walsh. “(They’ll think), ‘yes, vi­o­lence against women has to stop.’ But Cort­ney Lake is re­mem­bered as well.”


Cort­ney Lake’s fam­ily at a tree-light­ing cer­e­mony in her mem­ory Dec. 14 at St. David’s Park in Mount Pearl.


Natasha Bader-Dens­more (left), St. John’s Women’s Cen­tre co-or­di­na­tor, ac­cepts a cheque on be­half of the cen­tre from Lisa Lake, Cort­ney Lake’s mother.


Cort­ney Lake’s son, Oliver, puts an or­na­ment on the tree at a tree-light­ing cer­e­mony Dec. 14 at St. David’s Park in Mount Pearl.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.