The 33rd annual Vernon Doctors Hockey Tournament Society (VDHTS) was held on March 4th- 5th. This is the largest Physicians Hockey Tournament in Western Canada. Through the proceeds of this event the VDHTS made a generous donation to CMHA Vernon Branch for $2,500 in memory of Laura Taylor.
Laura Taylor was a UBC medical student and gifted athlete who died by suicide last year. A dedicated athlete, Laura took part in the Vernon Doctors’ Hockey Tournaments and was also a member of the UBC Women’s Thunderbird Hockey Team after also playing varsity hockey with the University of Saskatchewan Women’s Huskies Hockey Team in her undergrad years.
Laura’s family openly shared Laura’s story in an effort to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness while promoting mental wellness. “Laura was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and struggled with the associated stigma which left her feeling too vulnerable to openly talk about her own mental illness. Our family hopes that by sharing Laura’s story and raising funds for more education regarding mental illness, we can break down the stigma which can be a barrier that can even prevent people from seeking help,” said Laura’s parents, Tom & Sue Taylor. “The stigma won’t go away if families hide the truth. It needs to be talked about openly just as you would talk about any other illness.”
The generous donation will help the CMHA in outreach programs to educate the community about the importance of prevention and early intervention in mental health. “We are pleased to be able to make this donation in Laura’s memory to help improve the dialogue about mental health in our community,” said Dr. Gavin Smart, VDHTS.