A local family is using tragedy as a powerful tool for hope for those suffering from depression.
Rick and Cindy More lost their 22-year-old daughter Lindsey on Sept. 20th. She took her own life after battling severe depression for a number of years.
“She lit up a room when she walked in,” said Cindy. “She really did.”
Rick added, “People that met her for the first time were touched by her. She had that impact and she loved to laugh – she just loved people.”
During holidays for example, Rick said his daughter would often dash out with a plate of food for someone who was on their own. “That’s the way she was.”
The couple recalls Lindsey’s passion for flying and she was weeks away from getting her private pilot’s license before her death. “She had done three solos, so we were pretty proud of her,” said Rick. “She loved being in the air.”
Lindsey had an impact on the community. At her funeral between 900 and 1,000 people attended.
“People were really shocked that a person coming from a close family that had this beauty and the world in front of her, could do something like this. I think that is what is so impactful right now,” said Rick, adding there is often a stigma attached those suffering with depression.
Cindy added they knew their daughter struggled, but they did not realize how difficult that struggle was.
“She was always joking and she was always doing everything she could for everyone else. She loved to laugh so we thought she was okay. I would ask how she felt and she would say, ‘Oh, pretty good. There’s someone going through the same thing and we talk a lot, so that really helps.’ And I thought, oh good. She wanted to make sure we weren’t worried about her,” she said.
It was in December 2014 when Lindsey approached Rick and said she needed help. “She came home and she was just crying and she said, ‘Dad, I need help. I tried to kill myself’,” he said. “She told me that night that she had been suffering since high school and we had no idea – no idea – it was a burden that she took on her own and I think many do because there’s that embarrassment – that stigma that society has put on these people.
“As a father – what a shock.”
Lindsey went to a local agency but felt turned away because the first question she was asked was how she was going to pay for the help. “She was demoralized and she was told it was a phase she was going through – twice she was told that,” said Rick.
After Lindsey’s death, Rick and Cindy have decided to turn their personal tragedy into hope for others. Together with help from community members, they have developed the Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation via the Red Deer and District Community Foundation – which is geared towards providing financial help to young adults, teens and children dealing with depression.
“We don’t ever want to see anyone turned away who seeks guidance,” said Rick. “Lindsey wanted to make a difference and I think this really is going to start making a difference. I think we have to stop and say enough is enough. That is kind of our medicine moving forward.”
Cindy added, “We want to do Lindsey justice because she was so beautiful.”
A few fundraisers have already taken place with overwhelming results in support of the Foundation. Bo’s Bar & Grill held a fundraiser which raised $1,000, the Canadian Brewhouse, where Lindsey worked, held a fundraiser which raised $50,000 and Electric City Tattoo raised $2,800 for the Foundation as well.
A number of business people have also contributed upwards of $600,000 over five years towards mental health initiatives in Central Alberta.
Rick and Cindy noted how grateful they are for the community’s support – some of it from people they don’t even know who have been willing to open up their hearts and share their own stories with them as well. Rick has also met with local politicians in hopes of raising awareness in the community.
“Since this has happened we have had so many people contact us who have told us they suffer from depression – and some of them have said we are the first people they’ve told,” said Rick. “We have to change our views on each other – hiding things isn’t going to change anything. It’s everyone’s issue.”
For more information about the Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation, check out their facebook page.