Two local women are refusing to sit idly by in the wake of recently publicized teen suicides.
Renee Savarie and Danielle Port are joining with communities across the province to host an anti-bullying and suicide awareness rally on November 10.
“It is important to have this rally now because we are getting sick and tired of hearing about it in the news of another death from someone being bullied,” Savarie said.
“I have known two kids personally who have committed suicide from being bullied.”
Port, who grew up in Cranbrook and recently returned to the area, said she sees the same problems in this city that were prevalent before she left.
“Having spent most my life in Cranbrook, I know what it’s like growing up here and that the bullying itself is a real problem,” she said. “After being gone for 10 years and coming back I still see the problem and I refuse to just sit back and watch it happen.”
Port and Savarie took on the rally for different reasons, but the common thread is an unwillingness to let another suicide happen in the community.
“I was bullied and even bullied others,” Port admits. “I also had drug and alcohol problems and thoughts of suicide trying to figure out how to deal with my own personal hurt and anger.”
Savarie said she’s involved to try to prevent another tragedy.
“What inspired me to do this is the fact I am a mother who has recently lost a child – not from bullying – but I know what it is like to have the death of your child from something that could have been prevented,” she said.
Port agrees, and said it’s time for bystanders to step up when they think a loved one is at risk.
“The goal of this rally is to make our voices heard that we will not tolerate this hate crime in our community and that we will not let anymore lives slip between the cracks,” she said.
Savarie said the issue of suicide extends far beyond what people see on the news.
“Some get made public on the news and there are numerous people that are never mentioned in the news,” Savarie said.
Port agrees, and said it’s sad that it took a tragedy for the public to wake up.
“Right now the problem is in the spotlight after Amanda Todd committed suicide. She has become the poster child for bullying and youth suicide,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that it took another child taking their own life for our schools and government to get truly serious about a very serious problem.”
The rally will also serve as a way to get the message out that there are caring people out there and resources that can help.
“People are crying out for help everyday and they need to know that there is hope and there are people that care,” Port said.
The rally will take place on November 10 at Rotary Park between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.
There will be a variety of guest speakers such as Cranbrook city councillor Sharon Cross, psychic medium and motivational speaker Donna Hartt, leader of Young Life Jesse Jarvis, and Port herself.
“I want to see people of all ages and walks of life coming together to show that they too are tired of this trend and want to see a change and are ready to stand up and say ‘no more,’” Port said.
The pair hope to keep the momentum going and hold another rally next year during Suicide Awareness Week in September.
For Port, seeing her nine-year-old daughter help spread the word of the rally has been great.
“She has been extremely helpful every step of the way because she already sees the problem at such a young age and doesn’t want to see anymore people hurt,” Port said. “She is telling everybody she meets and knows to come out and get in touch with me if they want to help out.”
Crisis Help Lines:
Crisis Centre: 1-800-SUICIDE
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868