Janet Taylor
November 6, 2017

Image Credit: ©SergeyNivens - Deposit Photos

Cards for Hope

I have been an avid hockey card collector from the time I was a kid. I'd take my change or my allowance to the local corner store and buy a couple packs of hockey cards. I think I even ate the gum included after I opened the pack.

There was nothing like the feeling of seeing my favourite players in an action shot on the ice or skating around. We would trade our doubles, we would trade for our favourites. We would put our cards in the spokes of our bikes and we would throw them against the walls at school to see who would win the pile.

We never realized the value of these pieces of cardboard would have today. I can personally say that I would have put a few less Gretzky cards in the spokes of my bike...or would I .... that was a pretty cool sound they made once you got going full speed.

The point to this, no I am not just rabbling, is that for me, now that I am back into collecting, I have added even more value to my card collection. I am using this hobby to help bring awareness to the issue of mental health and in supporting family and friends of those struggling to overcome their battles.

My card collecting has allowed me to connect with many amazing people over the last year. I have learned that we all struggle one way or another and by creating my group, Cards for Hope, I can connect with those that want to give back, those that have a story to tell and to those that want to make a difference in the fight against mental health. The best part of this group is that so many people have told me how surprised they are at the number of people who have been affected by mental illness in the extreme; friend or family member who has committed suicide, personal battles with addictions, personal battles with mental health, trying to find proper support agencies and some that just want to talk.

Proceeds from the Cards for Hope facebook page and from sales of donated cards, photos, memorabilia etc, go to agencies helping families in their struggle with mental health issues. Presently, donations are going to the local chapter of PLEO and to the National agency as well. Cards are being accepted and you can connect with me for further information.

For me, my story is mostly concerning my daughter and her continued struggle, but I am now realizing that it has affected my other children, my ability to work a full time job, my own mental health, but mostly my true desire in creating this group is to help others get the support when and where they need it in a quicker manner than I received it.

I feel better knowing that I can even help one person let alone the many that have made connections and been able to help themselves and others through this group. The comfort and love that is achieved in simply realizing you are not alone is in itself strengthening to me. My hope is that by growing this conversation around mental health issues such as cutting, drug use, suicide, negative use of technology and in sharing our stories, that we can find a way together, to bring families back together, to heal our wounds and to make sure that everyone has someone or someplace they can turn to if they ever need the support.

I want to thank everyone who has supported my in creating this opportunity, those that have donated their time, their cards, their money and their stories. With all that support, over $1025 has been donated to supporting families in need of help during a crisis.

For more information, email me at janet_etaylor@hotmail.com; check out Cards for Hope on Facebook and please, share this site and pleo.on.ca with anyone who may be looking for direction with mental health issues.

If someone you know is in immediate need, do not hesitate in calling 911 or in attending your local emergency room. Sadly, during my last visit to our local children's hospital, I noticed a sign that read "70% of the visits to this hospital, were for youth mental health issues". As a mother, that breaks my heart...so join me in doing something about that statistic.

Thank you.