25 years of History in the Making
 
Rotary Supports Suicide Prevention in the Tri-Region
Submitted by Dianne Brown
 
A beautiful, sunny September 10 morning the Rotary Run for Life, in its 14th year, saw participants walk five kilometers, run 10 kilometers or run a half-marathon in Stony Plain. The event started and finished at the Stony Plain Heritage Pavilion and took runners and walkers through Stony Plain’s trail network.
 
Like every race there are race day prizes and in this case a warm breakfast was provided to everyone, served by local Rotary Clubs and elected officials.
 
Every year for the past 14 years this event has served two purposes,
 
First, much needed financial support for local mental health initiatives. Second, and maybe most important, it provides an opportunity for people who have lost a loved one to suicide, an opportunity to remember, a time to reflect and gives another step in their healing and mourning journey.
 
Suicide is hidden in many communities and it is a horrible thing for anyone to go through. Even today suicide is thought of as shameful by some, often leaving those left behind with no way to grieve and mourn their loss.
 
But here in our tri-communities we have this event! Each year after the run, a ceremony is held in the Stony Plain Heritage Pavilion. This includes a presentation on suicide awareness and prevention. Families who have lost a family member to suicide gather, displaying a memory board representing their loved-one lost to suicide, and putting a name and face to the stigma of suicide.
 
The Rotary Run for Life traditionally raises approximately $40,000 in net funds — half of which is given directly to our Coordinated Suicide Prevention Program (CSPP). The second half is split between the Rotary Clubs of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland After Dark. When asked “What are these funds used for?” the answer would be, suicide prevention funding and mental wellness programming.
 
For fourteen years the Rotary Run for Life event has meant an increase in the time given to suicide prevention programming in our tri-municipal area, much of it in local schools. With the addition of funds from this event, our region now has one person dedicated to suicide prevention 35 hours per week. For more information on the CSPP call 780-963-1770 or go to www.thecspp.org.
 
If you are interested in more information about the Rotary Club of Spruce Grove please contact Chris Findt at chris@findt.net.  There are also two additional Clubs in the region, Rotary Club of Stony Plain and Rotary After Dark.