A skateboard competition and skate-a-thon is set for Sarnia’s Tecumseh Park Saturday to raise awareness of mental health services in the community and to support the Deker Bauer Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Bauer died by suicide last August and the Deker Bauer Memorial Skateboard Competition and Skate-a-thon has been organized on what would have been his 18th birthday.
“It’s definitely going to be a tough day,” said Teresa Ingles, Bauer’s mother and CEO of the foundation formed to help prevent suicide through education, research and advocacy.
Ingles said she decided to hold the event on her late son’s birthday as a way to keep herself busy that day, but added she expects it will be bittersweet.
“Because, he’s not there and I know he would have loved something like this,” she said.
Bauer was an avid skateboarder who, along with a friend, had talked about organizing a competition.
After the foundation was formed, Ingles said they decided the competition would be a good opportunity to get young people together and provide information about mental health services that are available locally.
Registration at the park on Russell Street is set to run from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., with opening ceremonies to follow and competitions running until 6 p.m.
There will be hotdogs, cotton candy, pop, awards and prizes supplied by sponsors, as well as music, and a craft corner.
At 6 p.m., representatives from several local agencies will speak about services they offer.
“If you need somewhere to go and talk, these are the places you can go,” Ingles said.
Live entertainment by Spotty G and Geovanni is scheduled for the evening from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Organizers have set a rain date of June 13, if Saturday’s weather doesn’t cooperate.
Information about the event, and the foundation, is online at dekerbauerfoundation.com.
The foundation was incorporated in October and has been working to establish a drop-in centre for adults and young people to provide help with referrals to community resources.
“We’re going to make sure we stick with that person until they get to where they need to be, and make sure they’re being taken care of,” Ingles said.
“I think that’s what we’re missing. A lot of people don’t know where to go, or who to talk to.”
Ingles said the concept of the drop-in centre has been welcomed by many in the community, “but to get the dollars, it’s a little tough right now.”
Along with Saturday’s competition, the foundation is planning a bike rally at an upcoming summer event, as it continues to work to see a drop-in centre established.
“I would love to have our doors open by Christmas,” Ingles said.