HELPING YOUNG PEOPLE OVERCOME ANXIETY
Proceeds From uxperience 2018 to Benefit Cam’s Kids Foundation
UXBRIDGE, ONTARIO, MARCH 12, 2018 – Every year, local volunteers work for months to create and perform “uxperience” for the purpose of helping local charities and non-profit organizations. This year’s rollicking roller-coaster of music and skits themed “Battle of the Sexes” (StarTicketing.com) will take place May 3, 4 and 5, and proceeds will go to Cam’s Kids Foundation. This grassroots, Uxbridge-based organization is actively engaged in “Supporting Young People Struggling with Anxiety.” According to uxperience president Chris Fahrner, “Anxiety is a major issue with today’s youth, and we are proud to help support Cam’s Kids in their efforts to address the problem in a positive way.”
Cam’s Kids is named for Cameron Hicks, a young man who struggled with debilitating anxiety until his parents incorporated various holistic modalities into his life, in particular, individual-specific nutrition, herbs, supplements and CBT. After making great strides, in a tragic twist of fate, Cam was struck and killed while trying to cross the 417 on Halloween night, while in his second month at uOttawa in 2014. His parents, Linda and Gordon Hicks, started the foundation to honour his memory and help other young people who may be struggling with anxiety-related symptoms. “When all of this started, we hadn’t even heard of the word anxiety,” Linda says. “Nowadays, we know it can be the underlying cause for many other health problems. Just as each person is unique, the cause of one person’s anxiety is very likely different from another person’s. As well, what helps alleviate anxiety symptoms in one person may also be different from another person. For Cam, nutrition and holistic living were vital. We will use some of the funds from uxperience to launch the first holistic health program to be incorporated into high school physical education programs, starting locally, with Uxbridge Secondary School.”
Cam’s Kids is catching on. The website www.CamsKids.com has visitors from as far away as Japan, illustrating just how widespread concerns about anxiety are. The organization also now has 160 Ambassadors across Canada, and the first training session in safeTALK was held for some of them in February. “safeTALK makes our Ambassadors aware of how to pick up cues from those who might open up about anxiety or suicide, which sometimes go hand in hand,” says Cam’s Kids National Coordinator Vanessa Morgan, an Uxbridge resident, who was a friend of Cam’s. “The most important thing our Ambassadors learned from this training, was how to be engaged listeners and become more comfortable saying the word suicide.” More training sessions are being planned for Ottawa area ambassadors and again in Uxbridge this spring.
The Cam’s Kids website is a vital resource, a virtual centre-of-the-universe when it comes to understanding anxiety and looking for ways to deal with it. “Cam’s Kids is not a service provider,” Linda explains. “Anyone in crisis should call 9-1-1. We are all unique with individual needs and life circumstances. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all, magic solution, but through the website, we share information, tips and tools, and peers can share their stories online. We find this helps young people tremendously.”
The organization’s main fundraiser is an annual golf tournament. To raise awareness, the group distributes candy canes at holiday time and chocolate hearts for Valentine’s Day. They also produce a free e-newsletter for which you can sign up online. “Our Ambassadors are the face of the foundation,” Vanessa says, “but the website is an excellent resource as well. Young people can share their stories in a safe place and help others in the process. Whenever a new story is posted, the number of visits to the site spikes.”
“We still have a long way to go,” Linda adds. “Far too many young people self-medicate because they don’t know where to turn. Our goal is to make them aware of anxiety, identify early symptoms and incorporate positive, holistic, non-toxic solutions into their lives. Cam would be happy to know that young people are being helped in his name.” You can also follow Cam’s Kids on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Since uxperience began over 26 years ago, it has donated more than $135,000 to local organizations including the local hospital, Canadian Tire Jumpstart®, COPE Mental Health Uxbridge, North Durham Hospice, sports facilities, children’s projects, seniors’ programs, the Uxbridge Historical Society, Sunrise Pregnancy & Support Services Uxbridge, the Lucy Maud Montgomery Society and the Uxbridge Public Library, to name just a few. For more information on uxperience and what’s in store for 2018, visit uxperience.ca.
Media contact: Margo Bibby 416-258-5594 [email protected]