Less than three months after his daughter took her own life, Ottawa Senators assistant coach and former defenceman Luke Richardson is using personal tragedy to raise awareness about teenage mental illness.
His daughter Daron, 14, hanged herself on Nov. 13.
More than 5,000 people attended her memorial at Scotiabank Place and Richardson and his wife Stephanie were applauded for not trying to cover up the suicide.
Now, the family is teaming up with The Royal Ottawa hospital to launch an awareness campaign.
The family is donating $100,000 to the Daron Richardson Fund, matching the amount raised by grassroots fundraising in communities across North America.
In Ontario, one in five youths have a mental health disorder and only 20% of them seek professional help.
About 70% of adults with a mental health disorder say it began during childhood or teen years.
The Richardson family is urging teens and their families to ask for help.
Feb. 8 would have been Daron’s 15th birthday.
It will now be used as a day of discussion.
People are urged to register and wear purple –Daron’s favourite colour.
For more information go to doitfordaron.com.