We are holding our Mental Health Awareness Dessert Social Thursday night for the LEAP program at the PotashCorp Civic Centre. The event takes place at the All Seasons Restaurant at 6:30pm and the tickets are $25. The entertainment will be stellar with Gary Morris taking centre stage. Unknown entity Rusty Diamond is on the guest list.
The LEAP program helps sponsor memberships and swim lessons for those in need in the Sussex area. Many top athletes have accessed this sort of help in the past. Some of the names would shock you. Basketball star Lebron James moved in with his football coach at age 9. Tennis star Novak Djokovic was raised with civil war all around him in Serbia.
On the flip side, it is inspiring to see athletes give back to programs like LEAP. Basketball star Michael Jordan founded a Boys & Girls club in Chicago. One of the most famous Montreal Expos was catcher Gary Carter and he created a charity to improve the lives of children. Recently, Lebron James funded a public school in his hometown of Akron where children receive free bikes, meals and free college tuition after graduating. Wow!
Locally, former hockey and track & field star Mark Webster is a sponsor of the LEAP program in the Sussex area. Mark was also a strong influence in keeping the 8th Hussars Sports Centre open for figure skating and hockey when there were funding issues to be resolved 6 years ago.
Mental health awareness is the focus of the evening for our featured speakers of course. Martha Chown will be there on behalf of the Canadian Mental Health Association and Megan Miner will be there on behalf of the Sussex and Area Wellness Network.
Top sports athletes have been more forthcoming about mental health issues in the recent past. Demar Derozan was traded from the Toronto Raptors to the San Antonio Spurs this past summer but his leadership on mental health will be still felt in Canada. Last February, Demar opened up about his struggle with depression after Cleveland Cavaliers’ star Kevin Love had admitted to his own issues. Not only did Demar’s words help support Kevin Love but he was able to expand on his role model leadership in Canada.
Demar and Kevin had the power of celebrity. Martha has spoken out about her own issues and has followed a less glamorous path of helping those in need. I am sure she has been more impactful for this area than famous athletes. Her published articles have been a beacon of light for many. On Thursday night, I hope you make her feel like a celebrity just like Demar!