Suicide is personal for Pam Bilusack.
She still feels the loss of her younger brother 12 years after he ended his own life and she doesn’t want other families to experience that same enduring pain.
Bilusack recently joined the board of directors at the Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of BC, and on Tuesday, Dec. 10, she’s hosting a burger-and-beer fundraiser, from 6 to 9 p.m., at Woody’s Pub (935 Brunette Ave., Coquitlam) for the non-profit, volunteer organization, along with former BC Lions superstar receiver Geroy Simon.
Bilusack said the event is a way to open a dialogue about mental health with a whole new demographic that might not otherwise be comfortable at a black-tie gala. She said even in the years since she lost her brother, some of the stigma about mental illness and suicide has lifted.
“People used to hide what actually happened. Now more and more people are being open about suicide.”
Bilusack said high-profile, public campaigns such as Bell’s Let’s Talk have helped, as has a change in the language used to describe mental health issues. But there’s still a way to go.
And education is the key, she said.
“The more people can be educated about what to watch for, that will also save a life,” she said.
In addition to a chance to meet Simon, the Lions’ all-time leading receiver who’s now the team’s director of scouting, the fundraising event will feature a 50/50 draw and a silent auction. Tickets are $25, which includes a prime rib beef or veggie burger, a glass of house wine, beer or pop, and an entry to a raffle draw.
For more information and to reserve a ticket, go to eventbrite.com/e/interception-to-suicide-prevention-with-geroy-simon-tickets-78568878631.
12/06: Corrected date of the event