“Tell the truth about why I died.”
Those were the words that Georgia McAlpine wrote in a note to her parents before she took her own life in 2016. Cam, Georgia’s father, said she wanted nothing but to help others throughout her life and even in her last moments, she wanted to keep helping others.
So despite how difficult it is to talk about and relive, the McAlpine family has been advocating for youth mental health wellness, raising funds for community programs, even working with CMHA Kelowna on its board so they can help make a difference.
With the help of CMHA Kelowna, the McAlpine family was able to set up a permanent fund called Georgia’s Wish, to which people can donate. Money that Georgia’s Wish raises funds community programs, including Foundry Kelowna’s Mobile Wellness Unit, which offers youth support in Lake Country, Kelowna, and West Kelowna.
“We as a family have just taken (Georgia’s) wish to heart,” Cam said.
“And from that day on, I’ve been talking openly about this. It’s never easy but it’s important.”
The McAlpine family’s message and efforts have created a ripple effect in the community, with friends and family donating to Georgia’s Wish. Now, more friends are beginning to organize fundraising events and spread awareness about mental health wellness.
One of these friends is Sheila Venables, who co-owns Pace Spin Studio with her family. The studio, which opened in 2019, typically hosts a fall fitness challenge, where participants ride for a charity or community organization. The event was cancelled last year, but Venables said they wanted to get back on track this year.
“The Foundry and CMHA Kelowna were next on our list (of organizations to raise funds for), especially with COVID and the effect it has had on mental health,” she said.
“There’s a lot going on, so we decided this was going to be a top priority for us.”
Dogzies Pet Services owner Wayne Dorman, who goes to the studio, suggested that they do a “glow ride” challenge this year and raise funds for Georgia’s Wish, to which Venables agreed. Dorman brought in glow sticks and other glow accessories to prepare for the ride, she said.
“What we’ve decided for the challenge is to have a calendar of goals for each rider who wants to participate in the challenge,” she said.
“The glow rides will be part of that, with all the proceeds going to Georgia’s Wish.”
Venables said they’re still sorting out the details for the fall challenge, but it’s scheduled to start on Nov. 8 and go until Dec. 8.
If you want to learn more about Georgia’s Wish, you can do so here.