International curling event in Saint John benefits mental health
An international curling competition held this weekend in New Brunswick is raising funds and awareness about mental health.
The Jim Sullivan Curling Classic is named after the former Canadian and World Junior champion curler who lost his battle to mental illness in 2011.
Jim’s father David Sullivan watches from the stands as the competition on the ice heats up.
“His friends that curled wanted to do something to remember his curling achievements and what he did to promote curling in New Brunswick, Saint John and across the Maritimes,” explains David Sullivan.
The annual event is now in its seventh year and includes 33 teams from the U.S.A., China, and all across Canada.
Organizers say the tournament seems to be gaining traction with this being the largest field they’ve ever had. But more than the top-notch curling competition, the event is all about raising awareness, and funds for mental health.
Sullivan, who was also the Brier Silver Medalist in 1990 took his own life in 2011, a tragedy that shocked the curling world.
“When we heard about his passing, it was a surprise to many people,” says event organizer Kevin Babin. “He seemed like everything was okay, but because he was so well respected on the ice and off the ice, it was a perfect time to honour him with this spiel.”
“I grew up as a kid curling against Jim when I was a junior and kind of looked up to him and it’s great for family and friends to rally together and keep this event going every year,” says Jamie Murphy, a curler from Nova Scotia.
The proceeds from the tournament go to the Saint John Chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association, to help those struggling with mental illness.
“We wanna get the word out and get people talking about mental health, and not locking it all up inside themselves and somebody said, one of the best things if you don’t know anything to be kind,” says David Sullivan.
Words of wisdom from the father of a man who may be gone, but whose legacy continues to live on.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Lyall.