When I was 20 and fresh out of university, my first job was at a marketing firm that provided fundraising services to non-profit clients. Not only did my year there launch my fundraising career, but I had the opportunity to make the most amazing set of friends with whom I worked. One of those friends was Todd. He was 22, and brilliant, beautiful, and had the most amazing, friendly disposition, and just a super personality. As a year went by - which at that age seemed like an eternity - and it was time to move on from the marketing firm, beacuse our apartment leases both happened to be ending, Todd and I decided to get an apartment together and to start our own fundraising consultancy. We both moved back to our parents' while searching for the apartment and planning the business. Such an exciting time!
Until the world exploded.
One morning I received a call from my former boss at the marketing company, asking me to come downtown to meet. When I arrived, I was greeted by three of our work friends. We sat down at a nearby restaurant where my boss told us he'd just been informed that Todd had committed suicide.
It's been almost 30 years since that day, and despite having lost several people I've loved over those years, and even others by suicide, I can honestly say that I have never experienced grief like I did in the months that followed Todd's death. I was completely traumatized: I didn't understand what had happened, or why, or how I was supposed to react or move forward. I don't remember much about that time other than the constant haze of sadness and guilt that I should have known, should have done something. I wandered around in a daze of confusion and loss for those next few months, as I went through the suddenly very sad processes of finding an apartment on my own, and finding another job.
Eventually, after at least a full season of that awful year, life began to go on, as it does. Eventually, I started to live again, and made the most of my life. But even today, decades later, I think of Todd with extreme sadness and regret, and always wonder at the incredible life this brilliant, extraordinary boy could have led.
It's because of this wonderful young man who I truly loved, that I am so grateful and honoured to be working with Heartache2Hope. This vital Halton organization provides healing support to adults who have experienced a suicide loss through grief support programs - something I sorely wish had been available when I needed it.
We've organized a team in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge this October to raise urgently needed funds for Heartache2Hope, to ensure that no one touched by suicide stands alone.
Please consider sponsoring my 10K(!!) walk with a donation, and help to ensure that these critically important services can continue to be available to those who need them.
Donate to help Heartache2Hope ensure that no one touched by suicide stands alone!
|Donation date||Donor name||Donation amount|
|Oct 26||Greg Baker||$100.00|
|Sep 13||Anonymous||Undisclosed amount|
|Sep 08||Angela Auchincloss||$50.00|
|Sep 08||Beer Family||Undisclosed amount|
|Sep 01||Wendy & Harry Vandertol||$25.00|
|Aug 31||Susan Astington||$50.00|
|Aug 30||In loving memory of Todd Gibbons||$50.00|