For the Miss Teenage Canada Pageant this July, I will be taking a dual platform with me, in which, in regards to both sides of my platform, I am very passionate about.
My platform consists of two things that are very close to my heart: Mental Health and Childhood Cancer Awareness.
In recent years, I have found myself in multiple situations where I have witnessed just how severe and life altering mental illness can be. As humans, we all tend to go through personal struggle; whether it is as a result of life experience, such as experiencing a death, a transition period, stress, maintaing school grades, becoming unhappy with peers or others, or even becoming unhappy with yourself. These are simply natural occurrences in which, can sometimes be battled but are tough. I have also observed just how tough the battle is with a mental illness, and there is almost no comparison. As a friend, a daughter, or perhaps even an acquaintance, I have seen many different situations; whether it may be an eating disorder, depression and/or anxiety, and have struggled along side those who struggle: some of my friends, family members, and acquaintances.
It’s tough. I remember a commercial on television about depression- it talked about how “depression hurts” but the key part I remember about this commercial was when it touched on a key phrase stating that: “as much as it hurts the person struggling, it also hurts the family of the person as well”. If I may speak on a personal note, which I think that others can relate to: when someone we genuinely love and care about is struggling with something (in the case of mental health; depression), then we are most likely going to struggle along with them, every step of the battle. We, as humans, tend to want to see our loved ones strive and achieve the best that they can, and when we realize that they are in pain, or feel any less than they really are, then we are hurt too.
It is a scary feeling when you do not know for certain if you will see a friend again, but it is in your best interest that, the next time you see them, they are well and alive, and nothing else but that. It is a scary feeling when you know a friend is struggling, but you are unable to help them see a light, and there is nothing that you can do. It is that feeling in the gut that is most scary of all, when you do not know if the next time you see this friend will be at their funeral or not.
Those, ladies and gentlemen, are my struggles while I watch others struggle. I do not intend for this post to be about me at all, I just feel that the more brutally honest I am, then more likely that others can relate. All of those scary feelings that I mentioned were once, or even still, are in the back of my mind. That is why mental health is part of my platform.
The stigma with Mental Health seems to be fading as the years progress, and I hope to be present when it is no longer present and those that do suffer, do not have to also feel ashamed or abnormal when going through a tough time because of a mental illness.
On the other side of my platform, I will be carrying “Childhood Cancer Awareness” with me to Toronto. Throughout my life on this earth, I was blessed in a way that I did not know anyone that had or was battling a severe case of cancer. After participating in the Miss Teen Ontario East Pageant (in which it’s platform is Candlelighter‘s (A Childhood Cancer Support Program), I was able to attend multiple events hosted by the “Candlelighter’s“, hear about many amazing stories of children that have battled and fought off cancer, and I have actually gotten to know a cancer champion that I proudly call, my friend.
I was able to hear about the battles that some of these children faced and have been extremely inspired. If anyone knows the true meaning of strength and courage, it has to be these children. Now that I have this personal connection that will always be a part of me, I feel a deep passion for Childhood Cancer Awareness and would regret not making it a part of my platform. I am grateful that I was exposed to Childhood Cancer Awareness; it has been a wonderful experience learning about it and meeting those who are an inspiration to many.
A pure example of strength and courage.