Two university students, both from Peterborough, have just made an huge impact on mental awareness and treatment.
Sarah Ross and Brianna Hamilton collaborated on a baseball tournament on August 26th—Hitting Back at Mental Illness: In Memory of Jake Stanley and Kathy Ross—that was a home run, raising more than $35,000 for PRHC's Adult Mental In-Patient Unit.
Dynamic duo: Brianna and Sarah at the ball tournament
Sarah, a Trent student going into her fourth year of Nursing, and Brianna, a 4th-year Criminology student at Carleton University in Ottawa, have been good friends ever since Brianna reached out to Sarah in January 2016 to ask her about her own experience in PRHC's Adult Mental Health In-Patient Unit.
Brianna Hamilton and Sarah Ross presenting the cheque to PRHC
"I had previously been a patient in December of 2014 and she knew that and wanted more information before getting help," Sarah tells PTBOCanada. "Since then, we have been very close friends. I have also lost my mother, Kathy Ross, who was the Principal of St. Peter's Secondary School, to mental illness in December of 2012."
"Earlier this year, Brianna mentioned to me about doing a fundraising tournament for PRHC's Unit and dedicating it to my mother and Jake Stanley, also a former St. Peter's student, who lost his own battle to mental illness in September of 2015."
Left to right: Lesley Heighway (Foundation Member), Sandra Hamilton, Brian Hamilton, Brianna Hamilton, Graeme Ross, Sarah Ross, Anne Ondercin (Foundation Member) and staff from PRHC's Adult Mental Health In-Patient Unit
With both of their deaths having such huge impacts on the community, Sarah and Brianna felt it was a great idea to be able to collaborate and honour their memories and raise money for a cause they would both be behind.
They ended up having a huge turnout at Norwood Community Centre ball diamond, with more than 20 teams in the tournament. In addition, they received an anonymous donation from a community member that covered the cost of the location.
On Friday (September 15th), the dynamic duo presented the PRHC Foundation with a cheque for $35,516.25 in support of Adult Mental Health In-patient services at Peterborough Regional Health Centre in the mental health courtyard.
"We were blown away by the amount we raised and we’re so grateful to everyone who donated, participated and sponsored," say the girls.
Members of Jake Stanley Baseball Team
All the proceeds will be used to support PRHC’s Adult Mental Health In-Patient unit and their efforts to create and facilitate a safe, therapeutic environment. The funds will be invested in supports that will enhance the patient experience and aid mental health patients in relaxation, a distraction from other stressors, and self-soothing while they receive treatment.
This includes investments in therapeutic furniture such as rocking and/or massage chairs, iPads with therapeutic applications, exercise equipment, self-regulation sensory items such as weighted blankets and self-harm prevention tools, reading materials and more.