BEAUTIFUL bright sunflowers, balloons, nibbles and smiles greeted the many friends and family members who attended a magical fundraising event recently in memory of the late teen, Elle Trowbridge.
The funday, titled ‘Hope For Elle’ was organised by Elle’s proud mother, Mandy Chism (pictured) in a bid to bring people together to create new friendships, encourage open and honest chat about mental health struggles – and most importantly, to honour what would have been the 19th birthday of the bubbly, brilliant Elle.
The afternoon aptly took place at 9th Avenue Pizzeria, Omagh as, as Mandy explained, ‘Elle’s favourite things foods pizza, milkshakes and chocolate’, and the day aimed to raise money for a charity called ‘Resilio’.
The charity, who are ‘relatively new’, facilitate mental health programmes across the North called ‘Hopeful Minds’, and it is Mandy’s aim to raise enough money to introduce the project into the local community for everyone’s benefit.
‘Hopeful Minds’ is a programme that quite literally teaches ‘hope’ to those taking part. It further equips the learner to have a positive mental attitude, and offers the tools to look towards the future with confidence and high spirits.
Additionally, it offers indispensable techniques to cope with stress, obstacles and difficulties in life – all while safe in the knowledge that there is somebody out there who will listen.
A delighted Mandy described the funday as ‘a totally magical day, which brought hope to people’s lives through connection and creativity’.
“Every year, when Elle’s birthday is approaching, it is a very difficult time,” Mandy said. “But this time, I wanted to do something special to mark the occasion, and I have been totally overwhelmed at the support shown by the local community. I even got goosebumps.
“It was lovely to see so many family, friends and strangers connecting, smiling and laughing – and talking about their struggles, which can be a very difficult conversation to begin for anyone.”
Mandy continued, “What’s more, something very special also happened during the funday too: A young person who had lost their way, happened to get talking to another person there, and found a new journey of hope.
“This is exactly why I’m raising money to help introduce the Hopeful Minds programme into the community for everyone to benefit from.”
Speaking directly to Elle, Mandy added, “I’m so proud of you, princess. Gone from earth, but your spirit lives on and spreads hope into so many lives.”
Mandy has expressed her thanks to everyone who helped make the funday an unprecedented success.