While hundreds of people will descend on Kelburn Recovery Centre this Saturday to listen to music, build flower crowns and have lunch, the person at the heart of this event will only be there in spirit.
On June 19, 2015, Jaedra Winter, a former Collège Jeanne-Sauvé learner, died by suicide. Now her mom, Melissa Winter, and her two sisters, Raven Rautenbach and Shaye Rautenbach, are part of a small committee that organizes the She Wore Flowers in Her Hair
event in memory of Jaedra.
"Of course, it sucks that my daughter Jaedra has passed away, but we as a family try to put our energy into something positive. I feel so blessed to have met so many new people and have the support from old friends and family," said Melissa. "I am so happy that we can honour Jaedra this way and keep her memory alive."
While the event is a mental health fundraiser in support of the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba
, it is also something bigger.
"The goal of this event is to raise awareness for mental health. We don't intend to save the world, but if we get people talking about it, they start to open up about it. Even my 79-year-old mother has had people come talk to her about their son/sister about their mental health issues, after hearing about our event," said Melissa.
This will be the fourth year for this annual event and the list of activities continues to grow.
"It truly amazes me how many wonderful people we attract every year who want to be a part of it. It has grown from bands, volleyball, yoga, and lunch, to all of that plus meditation, flower crown workshop, axe throwing, a closest to the pin golf contest, therapy puppies and a whole lot more," said Melissa.
A former classmate of Jaedra's, Cami Daeninck, who is involved in the event, also helped spearhead a scholarship in Jaedra's name at Collège Jeanne-Sauvé.
"The Jaedra Winter Memorial Scholarship was created to honour Jaedra and all that she stood for: helping people, doing your best, being kind and making each day count," said Cami. "The goal of the scholarship is to keep the conversation about youth mental health going."
Cami says she continues to be involved in the event year after year for two main reasons.
"The first is because I think Jaedra deserves to be remembered; she was lost much too soon. The second is that I want to raise awareness about mental health and the impacts it can have on not only individuals, but on their family, friends, and community as a whole. My goal is to reduce the stigma of mental illness, to encourage people to reach out for help and not feel ashamed about what they're going through."
The She Wore Flowers in Her Event is on Saturday, June 8, from 12 pm to 5 pm. Tickets are $15 and include lunch. For more information, visit the event's Facebook page