To raise awareness and remove the stigma associated with depression, the Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation is hosting its sixth annual Drive Fore Life golf fundraiser this weekend.
The event, which goes from Friday, Aug. 24 to Sunday, Aug. 26, will raise revenue in support of education and programs aimed at young people suffering from depression.
A slew of events has been lined up for the three days, including a rock concert at Buffalo Bill’s on Friday night, a dinner gala at Fairmont Chateau on Saturday night, and a golf tournament Sunday.
Kerry and Ginny Dennehy founded the foundation in 2001 after their son, who suffered from clinical depression, took his own life. Since then, the couple has hosted annual fundraisers to prevent other teenagers from taking such a tragic route.
“The more that we can talk about it, and remove the stigma of it, the more that people will get help,” said Ginny about the foundation’s philosophy.
The fundraising event has been very successful in the past, raising a total of $1.2 million over the last five years and earning the organization the title as one of B.C.’s top foundations in raising money to combat depression.
But Ginny said this weekend is not about the money.
“I don’t want to say an amount that we wish to raise, because I feel that really, what we are trying to do here is we are trying to focus on one of our goals, which is to raise awareness of depression. And make people understand that this is a disease that can happen to anyone,” said Ginny.
One of the guest speakers during the dinner gala will be 15-year-old Kiera, who will tell her story about how she overcame depression.
“She wrote an essay for school about how she felt special as she got over her issues with depression. And her teacher actually approached us and said, ‘You should really read this, I think it is important.’ You know, never thinking at that time if we were going to take it further and she was going to be our speaker or anything,” said Ginny, who after reading the essay realized it would be a perfect fit for the Drive Fore Life dinner gala.
The Saturday night gala will also include a silent auction, with items including trips to Dubai, Hawaii, Boston, and Mexico, along with snowboards, skis, and dinner vouchers.
Author David Square, who recently published a new book entitled When Eagles Fly, will also be part of the weekend event with a book signing at Armchair Books on Saturday and participation in the golf tournament on Sunday.
Ginny said that even though Square's book is not about depression, its message falls in with many of the Kelty Foundation’s main goals.
“To me it was about what our foundation is all about. It’s about believing in something, having a vision. And if you truly believe in something, you can make it happen… And I think the message is really, really important for young people today,” she said.
Ginny encourages the community to come out to the event this weekend, not only to have a good time, but also to learn about the importance of understanding depression.
Ongoing projects that the Kelty Foundation organizes to raise awareness in the community about depression include a speaker series, depression screenings at the Whistler high school, and a ‘Stuff Getting You Down’ media campaign, which promotes the Youth Outreach Workers and Crisis Stabilization Team.
The foundation also recently pledged $450,000 to the Child, Youth, and Family Exchange Resource Centre at Vancouver’s B.C. Children’s Hospital, and committed $10,000 towards delivery of suicide prevention and stress management workshops and online support to youth in the Sea to Sky corridor.