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JonnaPic.jpgIt started as a small kitchen party. Now 500 people are planning to go.

Don't worry. No need to call the police. This is not a wild house party hosted by a teen whose parents are away for the weekend. This is a party about awareness, compassion and support for people who suffer from mental illness. It's called Women and Wellness.

Ten years ago, it really did start in a kitchen. Helen MacDonnell's kitchen in Riverview. Saturday night, 500 women are expected to fill a high school auditorium. And people in 15 other communities across the country will be doing the same over the coming weeks.

This week, I spoke with Audrey Vaughn, who has taken over organizing the Moncton event. She's a woman who gets things done. But she also has a personal stake in this event. A couple of years ago she brought her niece, for an evening out, having no idea her niece was struggling. Her niece, Samantha, listened to the stories and watched as people in the audience were moved to tears one minute and laughing the next. Suddenly she didn't feel alone. After that night she talked with her family. She found the courage to reach out for help and was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Audrey says she doesn't wear it as a 'badge of shame' but accepts it simply as part of who she is.
Samantha wrote a letter to Helen MacDonnell after that night and said, "This event saved my life. Literally."

For tickets and information about the Women and Wellness event, call 859-3114 or go to their facebook page, Women and Wellness.

A la prochaine.

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