Debbie doesn’t hide or try to sugarcoat the truth.
Her son Shayne died by suicide in 2014 when he was just 17 years old.
It was as devastating then as it is now.
Shayne was a friendly and kind teenager who loved a lot of things, like video games, hockey and research.
Debbie and her family are uniquely frank about the circumstances around Shayne’s death, which include his struggles with depression and anxiety. They are dedicated to changing the way people living with mental illness are viewed. They do not accept the status quo.
“As a society, we need to practice patience, give understanding and compassion for those who are different, for those suffering with mental illness,” says Debbie. “These children and adults are extremely sensitive, caring, friendly, compassionate, and charming individuals who are extremely tormented, experience much anguish and are very despondent.”
Since Shayne’s passing, Debbie and family have worked hard to eliminate the stigma and have helped raises funds for young people living with mental illness. Each spring they organize Shayne’s Shore Run, a fundraising 5km or 10km race on the grounds of Ontario Shores, which is located along Lake Ontario. They do so because they want the system to be more accessible to the people who need it. They also want to honour Shayne and what he was all about as a person.
“Our son cared for and loved both his family and his friends deeply,” says Debbie. “He was kind, caring, sensitive, shy, generous, compassionate, and fun-loving.”
“As we share our experience, our hope is that the stigma associated with suicide, and mental health may one day be eradicated. All too often we suffer in silence….we try to cover up the act…don’t speak of the ‘unspeakable tragedy’… It is time to break that code of silence. It is time to speak up!”Back
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