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Community

hockingstuart Sunshine Puts on Charity Gala Event to Support R U OK?

This year, hockingstuart Sunshine’s Director Marcus Fregonese and his team have taken the initiative to support not-for-profit charity R U OK? in their efforts for suicide prevention by putting on a nearly sold-out gala event called Spread the Laura Love on Thursday, 26 September, 2019 in honour of Marcus’ late sister Laura, whose untimely passing happens to be ten years ago this year. “Laura was always a vibrant soul, with a warm spirit and smile. She made friends easily and was loved by so many. She would light up a room with her presence and personality,” says Marcus who was devastated by the loss of his bright and well-liked sister. The R U OK? charity’s endeavors revolve around their slogan ‘Are you okay?’ which encourages Australians to check in with their loved ones, friends, coworkers and people in their lives and connect with real, meaningful conversations to dig deeper and provide support and help where needed.

Founded in 2009, R U OK? works very closely with national organisations such as Suicide Prevention Australia and Mental Health Australia while supporting country-wide campaigns such as Liptember which raises awareness for women’s mental health, You Can Sit With Me which promotes inclusivity and many more. They have also created a national ‘R U OK? Day’ that falls on Thursday, 12 September of this year. It is an official day dedicated to reminding Australians to trust the signs, trust your gut and ask the simple yet possibly life-changing question: ‘Are you okay?’

Mental health has increasingly become an important topic in Australian culture as well as globally and is slowly being recognised to be as important as physical well-being. Rightfully so, as millions of Australians suffer from mental health issues from mild depression to acute personality disorders these days which has spurred important conversations surrounding mental wellness. According to the Black Dog Institute, another organisation that R U OK? supports, every day at least six Australians die from suicide. Almost half (45% of Australians) will experience mental illness in their lifetime and only half of that group are likely to seek help. 

“I know what it’s like to lose someone,” says Marcus, “And if I can somehow prevent one more person from losing someone close to them then I’ve done my job. No one knew of Laura’s mental health issues and it took a lot of people by surprise. It’s made me realise that most people with mental health issues hide them well. It’s up to us friends to ask one another, even if they seem fine, the question ‘are you okay’? That question could save a life.”

Click here to read more about Laura’s story.

Tickets for Spread the Laura Love Gala are still available but going fast. Buy them here.

To learn more about R U OK? charity and all of the different ways you can support, you can go here.

hockingstuart is a proud sponsor of R U OK?, suicide prevention and mental health awareness.