In Loving Memory of Kirsty Lee Traeger
Tragically earlier this year I lost not only a colleague and client, but a treasured friend Kirsty Traeger who was the sole occupant when her car collided with a tree. It broke my heart – a beautiful soul that had been so passionately driving a quest to break the stigma around mental health in the Lower Eyre Peninsula, who organised an event for Mental Health Week 2015 that won community event of the year, and who also herself received an award for citizen of the year. This girl who was bright, bubbly, beautiful and lets be honest, loud had tragically been taken from us when her achievements had just reached their peak – and sadly left behind many broken hearts and tears, particularly her loving childhood sweetheart Michael and their baby son, Zac. But this tragedy also really put a spotlight her legacy, her dream, a Mentally Fit EP.
I had the privilege of teaming up with Kirsty throughout 2015 for many events and functions that contributed towards this project of a Mentally Fit EP. So what is “Mentally Fit EP” – in short, it is a project aimed at reducing stigma around mental illness by getting people to talk about it and also learn more about staying mentally well. Kirsty’s passion was to educate people about staying mentally well themselves and to empower them to help others do the same.The “Take Charge of Your Life” course is being offered and well received within the community, and I have had the pleasure of meeting on Jackie Hibble who is continuing Kirsty’s legacy with West Coast Youth & Community Support.
Sharing in Kirsty’s passion and truly missing her being around in my life, I felt the desire to contribute towards her legacy and so I threw myself in the deep end (and boy, was it deep!) and organised a fundraiser to raise money for Mentally Fit EP. With major sponsors Rogue & Rascal, Boston Bay Smallgoods & Boston Bay Wines backing the event, the generosity of many local businesses who donated items for the auction, and guest speakers who volunteered their time to talk about either their journey to mental wellness or tips to achieve mental wellness, the night drew in a wonderful intimate group of attendees and by the end of the night we had raised $3,000.00!!!!!!
When I had the pleasure of handing over the cheque for $3,000.00 to Jackie, she said:-
“It is with great appreciation that I accepted the cheque from Chantelle Smith of Indigo Phoenix Hypnotherapy today. Chantelle’s event at Rogue & Rascal was inspiring and showed the difference one person can make. The speakers were a diverse group – some spoke of their journey to wellness while others gave information about the tools needed to get there. I gained so much from listening to their words, as I’m sure everyone there did, and so it was just a bonus that so much money was raised to contribute to Mentally Fit EP. This donation will enable us to present the course to more people in our community this year. Sue and I are presenting together and I hope to be qualified next year to be a presenter in my own right. Sue and I, just like Kirsty , have a real belief in the benefits of Take Charge Of Your Life and Choice Theory. I truly believe that we can make a difference in our community with this work! Chantelle what you have done is amazing. You can be really proud.”
I tell you I am really proud, but I am also really humbled. I cannot express what achieving this means for me, nor can I put into words the gratitude I have for the businesses and volunteers that made this possible, and for the attendees who got into the spirit of the night generously dipping deep into their wallets for the end of night auction – finishing the night with a bang and a lot of laughter (in large thanks to emcee Emma Pedler, who did an incredible job!). It left me buzzing with pride for the community that I live in and how fortunate I am to be able to give back to a cause which supports our local community and its mental wellbeing.
I am so thankful to have had Kirsty Traeger in my life – I miss her every day – but it is because of her I was able to have this experience to contribute to our community, and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and the outcome!!
In true Kirsty style, “can I get a WHOOP“… and “look after yourself & those around you!”
SOME PHOTOS FROM THE FUNDRAISER BELOW