One of the premier annual Mental Health advocacy events was once again held in London this morning as Breakfast of Champions 2019 recognized some of our community's top Mental Health advocates and offered an illuminating and moving keynote address.
International bestseller Mark Lukach made the long trek up from California to address the crowd of approximately 1,200 attendees on hand for this important event.
Mark - the author of My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward: A Memoir - regaled the audience with a love story turned tragic when his wife and college sweetheart Giulia was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. This disorder came about with little warning and forced Giulia into three separate stints in psychiatric wards in the U.S. over a five year period with psychosis and suicidal depression.
While offering a humbling look into the harsh realities of life battling mental illness, Mark also highlighted the immense toll that these trials can take on the loved ones, family members and caregivers of those affected which can often go unnoticed.
Mark's emotional address highlighted the importance of listening to the input provided by those afflicted by mental illness, of constant and clear communication in the difficult times but especially in the best of times, as well as the importance of self-care for caregivers and family members.
The down-to-earth, laid back nature of Mark's address produced both laughter and tears for those in attendance, shining a light on issues that are all too common in our society but that still remain stigmatized.
As a U.S. resident, Mark was quick to laud the increased emphasis placed on Mental Health advocacy in Canada by organizations like the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), the annual presenter of Breakfast of Champions in partnership with St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation. Mark was also given an opportunity to tour the St. Joseph's facilities and was blown away by the exceptional level of care, compassion and love provided.
Breakfast of Champions 2019 - like all those that came before it - provided an in-depth, real world examination into the perils of mental illness while highlighting those within the London community who have been at forefront of important mental health initiatives. Of course, all of the money raised at the event will also go to support a great cause - the Zero Suicide Initiative - which is a quality improvement model aimed at reducing suicides and suicide attempts.
Finch Auto Group feels truly honored to have served as Presenting Sponsor for Breakfast of Champions 2019, continuing with our own organization initiatives to shine a spotlight on the critical importance of mental health both in and out of the workplace. We look forward to continuing to support this great event and are thankful for the wonderful organizations and individuals who help to continue to elevate it year after year.