DURHAM – The memories of Walkerton’s Wes Cameron and Arthur’s Steve Hutchison were honoured Sunday in the second annual Battle for Mental Health.
The fundraiser, for Wes For Youth Online and #GetInTouchForHutch, featured an exhibition hockey game between friends of the two teenagers who both took their own lives at a young age.
Wes was only 16 when he died in Sept. 2011; Hutchison, only 18, when he died in Feb. 2013.
The boys were both survived by their families, including their respective brothers who were as dedicated to the game of hockey as they were. Jay and Wendell Cameron laced up the skates for Team Wes For Youth, while Kevin Hutchison started in net for Team #GetInTouchForHutch.
They all voiced their appreciation to everyone who took part in the Battle for Mental Health, both on the ice and in the stands.
“The hockey community was a big part of our lives growing up,” said Jay, who was the starting goaltender for Team Wes For Youth. “It’s nice to see everyone come out and see us play for our brother and for the Hutchisons.”
“We all played hockey growing up, so an event like this is pretty suiting, all the friends coming together and doing it for (Wes) and doing it for the two good causes,” added Wendel, who is a current member of the Hanover Barons.
Kevin Hutchison never got to play organized hockey with his older brother Steve, but remembered games of shinny around the house.
“He was rough,” Kevin said of his older brother, who he called his best friend.
Kevin, too, was touched by the support from the community for Sunday’s event aimed at helping erase the stigma of mental illness.
The Battle for Mental Health also gave a chance for Paulie O’Byrne to share his story of recovery, as he looks to help young men who have been sexually abused.
O’Byrne is the founder of I’m 1in5, a group dedicated to supporting the one in five men who will be sexually assaulted during their life time. He became one in five after being sexually assaulted at the age of 21.
Approximately 300 people attended this year’s Battle for Mental Health, down from 2013’s edition. However, nearly the same amount of money was raised in 2014, as approximately $8,000 was brought in to support Wes For Youth Online.