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Lexi's legacy: Students hold event in honour of late friend


A pair of high school students put their heart and soul into a five-kilometre walk and run on Sunday to honour their friend Lexi Daken.

The 16-year-old died by suicide in February 2021.

The grade 12 students from Leo Hayes High School organized the fundraiser as part of a school course, to honour Lexi's memory and to increase awareness for youth mental health.

Moments before the run began, event organizer and best friend Lujayn Abuamer said Lexi was someone special who had a great sense of humour and a unique laugh.

“No one could ever tell she was going through so much,” said Abuamer. “She was brave enough to be vulnerable and reach out for help multiple times and never got the help she required which is why we're doing this.”

Six days before her death, Lexi sought help at the emergency room of the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton.

She waited eight hours to see a psychiatrist but was sent home without meeting with one.

The goal of Sunday's event was to improve the mental health system so other people don't have to go through what Lexi did.

Lexi’s father Chris Daken called it an emotional day.

“It's good to know that Lexi's voice is still out there and people are still thinking about her and her death wasn't necessarily in vain,” said Daken.

Rachel Ross-Hamilton was the other main co-organizer of the run. She said she wasn’t super close to Lexi, but seeing what her loss meant to others had a huge impact on her.

“Lujayn is one of my best friends and a lot of my other friends were very close to her and I've really seen how much that loss affected those friends and I'm really passionate about mental health. It's affected me a lot and I just wanted to help out the best I could,” said Ross-Hamilton.

Abuamer feels there has been a change in the way youth approach their mental health since Lexi’s death.

“Her story went viral, which was good, because it raised awareness a lot about youth mental health and people are now more aware but there's always room for improvement and that's why we're doing this,” said Abuamer.

After Lexi's death, her family called for better mental health services for youth in hopes that what happened to her wouldn't happen to anyone else.

Daken isn't sure if he's seen any improvements since his daughter's death.

“You hear stories of people getting service right away, then you hear stories of people still having to wait and not getting the call for mental health, so I hope there's been improvements, but I honestly can't say that there has,” said Daken.

There were around 150 participants Sunday, much more than what Daken was expecting. He says he was overwhelmed and touched by the turnout.

All proceeds from Sunday's 5K walk/run will go to the Capital Region Mental Health and Addictions organization.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, here are some available resources:

Crisis Services Canada (1-833-456-4566 or text 45645)

Centre for Suicide Prevention (1-833-456-4566)

Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868)

Nova Scotia Health Crisis Line (1-888-429-8167)

If you need immediate assistance, please call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. Top Stories

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