Singer organizing benefit for those with PTSD

  • Apr. 15, 2015 3:05 p.m.

One Song at a Time Planetary Persuasion has teamed up with singer Jessie Tylre Williams to bring together a world-class house concert series benefit gala across Canada.

The first benefit, in support of those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) runs April 18th in Innisfail at the Royal Canadian Legion.

Doors open at 5 p.m. and at 5:45 p.m. the Legion Bagpipers will perform.

Dinner is at 6 p.m.

There will be a silent auction running all night and 100% of all proceeds from the silent auction will go to PTSD and the approved local charity.

Williams, who just released a CD called This Road, will also do an acoustic mini-set during dinner of My Soldier Song (Tribute to the Troops) and perform more extensively later in the evening.

As Williams points out, the benefit’s focus is to create awareness, education and raise money for PTSD.

“My whole slogan in life is, ‘healing the world one song at a time’,” she explains. “I have to able to make a difference, and I really feel that this is my opportunity to give back.”

Through research, she became aware of the plight of those dealing with PTSD. To learn firsthand how available services are for those affected, she contacted several organizations as though she had the condition. Sadly, she was typically referred to other people and those calls usually ended in dead ends.

“I feel everything so personally, and I was thinking this is it – this is where this path has led me. So I continued on my research.”

That’s when she decided to hold a series of fundraisers, with the goal of targeting 40-plus towns and cities across Canada in 2015.

Williams, who is based in Medicine Hat, said the goal is to not only create awareness but to reach the goal of $500,000 to help fund new programs, educate the public and help those living with PTSD.

She eventually was in contact with the department of National Defense in Ottawa, the Canadian Army in Ottawa and the Royal Canadian Legions across Canada to land endorsements for the campaign.

“These are men and women that are out there fighting for our freedom. What do they get back when they get home? A closed door. So this is our opportunity, as civilians, to stand up, to rise up for them and be a voice for them. We can say, ‘We are so grateful you fought for our freedom, that we are going to fight for yours – let’s do this.”

Meanwhile, the tour will continue to go through Alberta for April and May and then branch out to Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

As Williams explains, PTSD can affect anyone, whether directly or when a family member or friend has been diagnosed. Although it has always been linked to those in combat, it can affect anyone who has been subjected to any type of trauma.

Meanwhile, this Manitoba-born, now Alberta resident, followed a gypsy lifestyle of movement from a young age and turned to music as a way of grounding herself.

She started writing songs by the time she was nine.

“Music has always been my passion,” she said. “It has taken me through many hard times in my life. It’s helped me find healing, and I believe that music has a way of healing and transforming lives.

“It has been my refuge, my personal therapist. I feel so blessed to be alive and to be able to share my story through my music, with hopes that I can inspire others along the way.”

Meanwhile, Williams is indeed determined to continue to work towards greater awareness for PTSD.

“My dad always said, ‘If you’re doing something, make sure it’s for the service of others’. I’ve never forgotten that.

“So we have to create a buzz about this – I’m going national – right across Canada. I’ll be knocking on doors, and I’m not taking ‘no’ for an answer.

“We must never stop believing. Where there is life – there is truly hope.”

As to the fundraiser, there is still a need for donations for silent auction items as well.

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