Anti-bullying walk planned in Cape Breton following string of teen suicides
Published Sunday, June 25, 2017 6:58PM ADT
The rash of young people taking their own lives by suicide in Cape Breton has community members taking a stand against bullying.
Thirteen-year-old Justin Newell, a transgender boy, took his own life on June 3. On June 18, 13-year-old Madison Wilson was found dead in her father’s home.
The families say bullying was to blame.
“She loved everything,” says Madison’s mother, AmyLynn Wilson. “Loved music, always on her phone. She loved being with friends. She was just so bright.”
Justin’s aunt, Stephanie Melski, says his suicide came as shock.
“It's just really tragic and caught us out of nowhere that this bright kid is no longer here,” says Melski. “We loved him so much, his parents loved him so much. It's devastating.”
Sandra Bates of the Salvation Army is organizing a walk of hope and vigil to remember and celebrate the teens.
“I think our slogan ‘Not One More’ speaks volumes to the fact that just one suicide is way more than any community should have to handle, and three has been devastating,” Bates says.
Many family members say the lack of help or knowing where to turn has been a challenge. It’s something Bates is hoping to change.
“It's not simply just a vigil. We want to be able to provide proactive information for the young people, so they realize there's adults and loss of other people in the community that are more than willing to step up and give them a hand,” Bates says.
The walk will take place in the parking lot of Centre 200 Friday at 8 p.m. It's hoped the community will stand side by side with the families as they take a stand against an issue that’s plagued the community for far too long.
“Our plan is to make sure, not one more suicide, not one more family hurting, not one more young person feeling so alone they make that decision,” says Bates.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.