Individuals face many challenges at all ages. Throughout all the challenges in life, the most difficult is burying a child.
It happens and it happened to the Duhaimes of Meota three years ago when Cody Duhaime took his own life. He was a son, brother, grandson and cousin. His choice shattered the worlds of those who loved him.
Last year, a walk in Meota was organized by Sylvia Duhaime, Joanne Lewchuk and Keith Duhaime and the Cody Duhaime Memorial Walk was born.
The walk raised money for suicide prevention and mental health awareness.
Through organizing and hosting this walk, the Duhaime family can slowly start to heal, one year at a time, through raising awareness, coming together with family and community members, joining others who have also lost loved ones and walking to raise money to help provide services for others dealing with mental health issues.
As participants were arriving in Meota Sept. 9, the dark clouds that were hovering above the lovely resort village seemed to take another course and head off in another direction. This left a blue sky and sun to shine down on a congregation of people out to walk for a cause.
Upon arriving at The Do Drop In, I found family inside setting up for a show of support. Last minute silent auction items were placed on the tables, while door prizes were set up. The barbecue was getting fired up to cook the feast of hot dogs.
The walk enjoyed generous donations from various sponsors with the principal being a $2,000 donation from ICS.
At 11 a.m., 100 walkers of all ages started the five-kilometre walk down Main Street, past the golf course to the edge of the village. The sun shone warm upon all who walked and the cool breeze kept the pace brisk. Tears welled up in my eyes and the sticker indicating who I was walking for made the walk a little heavier. I was walking for Cody, T.J., Uncle Bob and Darrell.
The walk cleansed the mind and looking back and seeing all the people with names on their stickers pulled at heartstrings. To see all the people affected by the loss of someone due to suicide creates a family. Without the support of family, friends, community, strangers and treatment resources to address this issue, we would be a lot worse off in this crazy complicated world we live in.
But within these walks and awareness campaigns, dealing with suicide and mental health awareness, society can cope and cope with the loss by grieving. Cope with the loss by saying, “This happened to my family. Let’s try to help others that have gone through the same thing.”
Let’s walk a million miles for the ones we lost just to save anyone who themselves feel lost.
Pledge forms were handed out to collect donations and prizes were awarded to those with the most money raised. The junior prize went to Alex Northcott with $975 raised. Adult winner was Jamie Duhaime with $875. Direct family members raised $6,000.
After the silent auction items were paid for and sponsor donations and pledges were tallied, $20,500 was raised.
Organizers plan for the walk to be an annual one.
“Take a moment to talk to your family. It just may save a life,” is the message Sylvia Duhaime and Joanne Lewchuk have placed on all their posters as their message to all.