Kristen Douglas/The Mirror From left

Better late than never as Mood swings for good

Campbell River's Walk to Defeat Depression took an unexpected turn, but it all worked out in the end

Thwarted temporarily by a technicality, the organizers of the Walk to Defeat Depression recently presented the Campbell River Beacon Club with a cheque from the walk which took place in May.

Four local women, Swanston, Barb Kozeletski, Josie Laslo and Lillian Woods – who bonded over the loss of their children – organized the event, which took place in communities across Canada.

Campbell River’s event was unique in that it was taken on by individuals rather than an organized non-profit organization, was is the case in most communities.

And that’s where the complication lay, Swanston said.

“When we decided to organize the walk, we thought most of the funds would stay in Campbell River,” Swanston said. “However, because we were individuals rather than a non-profit society, the funds we raised were mainly supposed to go to the Mood Disorder Society of Canada. Their website was not really clear about that so we did not realize that when we took this on.”

Swanston was disappointed to find out only 10 per cent of the funds raised through the walk would stay in Campbell River.

But thanks to the big hearts of staff at the Mood Disorders Society, the group gave 62 per cent of the money raised back to the community.

“We finally got the cheque – our delay, not theirs,” Swanston said. “As the Beacon Club assisted us from the start, helping get the word out, provided us with tables, chairs and volunteers and they are a fantastic organization that does so much [helping adults cope with mental or brain health issues], we are giving $3,500 to them and keeping some funds to use for next year’s walk and possibly other initiatives to raise awareness for mental illness and suicide and eliminate the stigma.”

Next year’s walk is already scheduled for May 25 and Swanston hopes to double this year’s turnout of 175.

Swanston, who’s son Terry took his own life in August, 2010, said she was “grateful so many people showed up and supported the Defeat Depression walk,” having no idea how many people who turn out. Prior to the walk, Swanston had said she would be thrilled if even 50 people showed up.