AWARENESS - The Smiles Thru Lindsey campaign continues to gain momentum in the Central Alberta community. Lindsey More’s parents

Red Deer couple continues to feel support in wake of daughter’s death

Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation builds awarenes about depression

BY MARK WEBER

Red Deer’s Rick and Cindy More continue to work to help those suffering from depression a mission that came from a tragedy within their own family. The couple’s daughter Lindsey took her own life in on Sept. 20th, 2015.

In the months following this unimaginable loss, and together with help from community members, Rick and Cindy developed the Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation via the Red Deer and District Community Foundation which is geared towards providing financial help to young adults, teens and children dealing with depression. It also provides funds for mental health initiatives and supports.

And virtually from the start, the community and beyond rallied to support the cause. That support hasn’t wavered to this day. “I’ve always loved this community but I never knew how much,” said Rick. “We are humbled for sure.”

As the facebook page again points out, it’s an area that continues to be in critical need of both funding and overall support.

The couple continue to be amazed at the outpouring of support they’ve been shown from the local community and beyond.

“We have not asked one person to have a fundraiser for us they’ve all come to us,” said Cindy, reflecting on the many special events that have been held over the past year in support of the Foundation.

Rick agreed, adding that via the Foundation, he’s also had several opportunities to share their story publicly. The couple is committed to helping rid society of remaining stigmas that exist in relation to depression and mental illness in general.

To this day, even though the subject is more ‘in the limelight’ than perhaps ever before, people who struggle with depression often face obstacles to getting the help they need. Not to mention the fact they often struggle to really clearly communicate how they are really feeling even to their circle of family and friends.

The Mores don’t want anyone to suffer in silence and in a sense, that’s what Smiles Thru Lindsey is about. Raising funds, building awareness and reminding those in the community that are fighting depression that they are not alone in their battles.

“When we bare our souls, I think that those who have been withholding (their stories) come to trust us,” explained Rick. “There are so many people that have been affected by mental health issues and depression.

“We have a story to tell, but we aren’t unique to it there are so many people, thousands, who’ve been affected.”

The Foundation’s facebook page notes that while mental illness accounts for more than 10% of the burden of disease in Canada, “It receives just seven per cent of health care dollars and almost a third of Canadians who seek mental health care report that their needs are unmet or partially met. Sadly, that rate is even higher for children and youth.”

For the Mores, the Foundation does provide some comfort but the pain of losing their beloved daughter certainly hasn’t diminished. “Our emotions are probably more raw today then when we spoke (to the Express) a year ago. There hasn’t been a day and I’m sure Cindy feels the same way where we don’t cry. There is so much that reminds us of Lindsey anyways,” he said.

Lindsey, in spite of the hardships she was enduring, was the type that worked hard to make others feel good, reads a statement on the Smiles Thru Lindsay facebook page. “Anyone who knew Lindsey knew her as someone who would do anything to make sure everyone was happy and not alone and their memories of her are full of love, laughter and adventure. Humour and passion for helping others hid the sadness that eventually took over her mind.”

Rick and Cindy know that as painful as it is, sharing their story and helping to be a voice for the cause is the road they want to take. Looking forward, for example, Rick will be speaking to the student body of Notre Dame High School.

“I can guarantee you that there might be a couple of hundred people in that crowd who have not told (their families) of their struggles.”

Cindy points out that over the past year, some have even approached them to say that thanks to them sharing their story, and to the Foundation overall that they’ve taken steps to get the help they have needed.

“One girl said to me it’s because of what you are doing, and because of Lindsey, that I’m alive,” recalled Rick. “My legs almost buckled.” Those are indeed some of the most meaningful moments of all, they added.

Ultimately, part of the couple’s message is that there is hope they’ve come in contact with many over the past year who admit to them they are stuck in the middle of a fight with depression. But they’ve also met some who have come through and are now somehow managing in spite of it.

Through it all, it’s also about letting people in with the help and support that they want to give.

“We survived this as a family. We’ve become even closer and we help each other.”

Donations can be made through the Red Deer & District Community Foundation.To make a donation, click on the link provided on the page and be sure to choose ‘Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation’ from the drop down menu under the donation amount section.

For any questions or inquires, feel free to send a message through this page and we will answer you as soon as possible.

For more information about the Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation, check out their facebook page.

mark.weber@reddeerexpress.com