Fergus Thistles and Shelbourne Vets Faceoff for Mental Health

Lacrosse was a game that Steven Hutchison loved and played.

And on Saturday two Jr. C. lacrosse teams – the Fergus Thistles and Shelburne Vets teamed up in an exhibition game to raise money for the #GetintouchforHutch group and its goal of removing the stigma attached to mental illness. The Vets edged out the Thistles 9-8 in the game played on Saturday afternoon at the Arthur arena. It raised $350 for the #GetintouchforHutch group.

Fighting the stigma attached to mental illness and bringing awareness of services available to sufferers is an effort Steven’s family – mother and father Myrna and Stu and brother Kevin – have undertaken since Steven took his life in February 2013. Four months after his death, family and friends organized the first #GetintouchforHutch five-kilometer walk-run which raised $60,000 well over the group’s expectation of $15,000.

Since that time the group has raised $125,000 with donations going to mental health services in Wellington and Grey counties.

The third annual #GetintouchforHutch walk-run is set for a 9:30 a.m. start onJune 27 in Arthur and Myrna Hutchison is hoping to raise $50,000. The events have attracted about 600 participants each year and this year she is expecting a similar number will come.

Thistles general manager Kurt Kruger said Saturday’s exhibition game was an opportunity for both lacrosse teams “to get out and support the #GetintouchforHutch organization.”

Mrs. Hutchison is always amazed by the different groups who have donated to the cause and recently received a donation from Conestoga College students.

“It’s just a connection between kids who knew Steve and who are going there (to Conestoga),” she said of the college donation. “It’s great that they’re raising awareness.”

She also noted that that the son of a cousin of hers, 15-year-old Ben Shafer, has  asked family and friends to make a donation to #GetintouchforHutch in lieu of giving him presents for his birthday.

The support has helped the family cope with their loss and donations are helping to bring greater public awareness to the issues surrounding mental illness.

“The days are still tough,” she said in an interview prior to Saturday’s game. “It’s during the quiet times it’s the hardest. We have a full circle of supporters and it helps get us through.”

Proceeds from the game will go toward The Walk So Kids Can Talk event being held in Owen Sound on May 3.

“Raising awareness and funds through a game that Steven loved, means so much,” a quote from the getintouchforHutch  Facebook page stated.

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