Petrolia teen hopes to use ball hockey to promote mental health awareness

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Whitney Simpson doesn’t want anyone to have to go through the pain of losing someone to mental illness.
The Petrolia woman is organizing a ball hockey tournament to raise awareness and raise money to help.
For years, Simpson played baseball with Jess Shaw. By travelling to ball tournaments and playing every week, Simpson, 19, got to know the whole family.
Then, last August, Shaw’s sister, Stephanie, lost her battle with mental illness when she died by suicide.
Simpson says it was heart wrenching to watch the family grieve.
“I wasn’t super close with Steph or anything,” she says “but I saw her family and the way they had to deal with such a bad loss, I don’t want to see any other family go through what their family goes through even today.”
So Simpson came up with a way to help; to “keep her memory alive and keep the conversation going about mental health,” she’s organized the Stephanie Shaw Memorial Ball Hockey Tournament for July 15 at Canatara Park in Sarnia. The four-on-four tourney will feature boys and girls in two age groups with each team having two girls. Registration for the tourney is on line or by emailing ssmemorialballhockeytournament@gmail.com.
Simpson is getting excited about the day adding the family, especially Stephanie’s mom, Kim, is right on board with the idea. “Her mom has been really helpful and is a huge advocate of bringing awareness of mental health.”

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