Women and Wellness Fundraiser Focuses On Mental Health

Photo credit: Facebook.com/Women and Wellness Oxford County

The South Gate Centre will be hosting the 5th annual Women and Wellness Oxford County fundraiser. It looks at the importance of mental health in the community, while discussing it during an intimate and enjoyable evening.

WOODSTOCK - The Women and Wellness Oxford County is putting on their annual fundraiser at the end of this month.

The event will be in support of the Oxford County Walk-In Counselling and it will have a dinner, along with a silent auction and raffle.

Volunteer Coordinator for CMHA Oxford Kathlene Campbell-Conlon says it will be at the South Gate Centre.

"Every year we've highlighted a woman telling her story, or in this case, we'll have a couple of women telling their story about how mental health has impacted their life. And going back to that whole idea of a kitchen party just having those conversations with other women, and men as well that are in attendance. We definitely encourage men to come out. It's not just for women even though it is put on  by a strong committee of women here in Oxford County, but we do encourage men to attend and join the conversation about mental health and how women as caregivers, and as people living with mental illness, just how they're surviving, how they're connecting, coping strategies and stories of recovery and resilience."

It is the fifth year they are putting on the fundraiser, however the event itself actually began 16 years ago in Eastern Canada as a kitchen party. 

It was a kitchen party with a purpose to do something meaningful about mental health. It looks at the importance of mental health in the community, while discussing it during an intimate and enjoyable evening.

Campbell-Conlon says Betty Ford and her daughter Desiree are this year's guest speakers.

"We've noticed that throughout the years that our community relates so strongly to those hometown stories, to those people who are our neighbours who we connect with on a local level more so than bringing in someone that we may not know as well."

Desiree is a 20 year-old former dancer and dance instructor and Betty has been her caregiver after a fatal car accident greatly altered her life in May 2018. Betty and Desiree will be sharing their story of hope, recovery and resilience.

Campbell-Conlon says it's been a focus for most of their events to try and localize who the guest speaker is, instead of bringing in a big name who people may or may not know.

The event has been raising money for Oxford County Walk-In Counselling since 2015. It has been an important event for the program, with hopes of donating $20,000 this year.

Tickets are now available and they cost $50.00 each or $400.00 for a table of eight. They can be bought online through the Women and Wellness of Oxford County's Facebook page where a link will be available, or you can call the CMHA Oxford branch at 519-539-8055 ext. 226 for more information.

It will be on September 27th from 5:30 to 9:00 pm. Dinner will be at 6:30 pm. 

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