Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Even If You Don't Like Purple

If you're a regular reader of Uni Watch, you're most likely aware that writer Paul Lukas hates the color purple. If you're not reading Uni Watch, I suggest you start doing that. In any case, the AHL's Binghamton Senators announced that they will be holding a Power of Purple Night on February 10, 2013 when they play the Albany Devils. You're probably thinking that Binghamton will be wearing purple jerseys, and you're probably right. But this promotional game is about so much more.

Luke Richardson, a former NHL defenceman, was an assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators in 2010 when his daughter, 14 year-old Daron Richardson, committed suicide on November 13, 2010. The death of Daron was a shock to the Richardsons, the Senators, the community, and the city of Ottawa. Her suicide prompted many schools and groups to band together and wear purple in memory of Daron and her struggle with her mental health. Purple was chosen as it was Daron's favorite color.

On February 2, 2011, the Richardsons took action to try and help other teens and parents cope with mental health issues by launching Do It For Daron. Along with the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health, the Sens Foundation, and the Ottawa Senators, the Do It For Daron Foundation was launched to honor Daron's life. On every February 8 - Daron's birthday - the Do It For Daron Foundation encourages groups and businesses to promote purple in order to raise awareness and show support for any and all young people "who suffer in silence from the pain and stigma of mental illness".

This season, with Luke Richardson coaching the Binghamton Senators, the Senators will lend their support to the Do It For Daron efforts. This is a really classy act by the Senators to stand by Luke Richardson and show their support of him, his family, and the charitable organization he runs.

On February 10, fan will be encouraged to wear purple to the rink. The first 1,750 fans to make it down to the rink that night will receive a purple D.I.F.D. rally towel to help cheer on the Senators. Both teams will wear special purple warm-up jerseys before the game, and all Senators players will wear Do It For Daron purple heart stickers on their helmets and don purple laces in their skates. Of course, the Senators coaching staff will be dressed in purple as well.

The best news is that the Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier (MHAST) will be on-hand at the game to provide information and professional support for those seeking it. Do It For Daron merchandise - bracelets, pins, t-shirts, mittens, toques and mental health kits - will be available for purchase that night, and MHAST will have a limited number of bracelets and t-shirts available.

Perhaps the best news of the entire night is that all proceeds from the sale of Do It For Daron merchandise, the silent auction, and in-arena donations will go to the Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier in partnership with DIFD. $2 for all tickets sold for that night will also go to MHAST as well.

I have to say that I cannot fathom how a teenager can consider suicide as an option, but it's very apparent that the mental health of teens should not be overlooked. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among teenagers after car accidents. While the quantity of suicides is low among teens, the fact that it is the second-leading cause of death says that the demons some teens face are very real.

I commend and applaud the Binghamton Senators for helping the Richardsons cope with the loss of their daughter, and for standing behind them in trying to bring further awareness about mental illness in teens. This is a classy move by the organization, and I'd be proud to wear purple on this occasion.

It may be a regal color, but it will look great on a number of Senators on this night.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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