High school volleyball game dedicated to raise funds for ‘The Emily Effect’
MT. PLEASANT—The North Sanpete and Manti High volleyball teams are face off tonight but they will stand united to raise awareness and money for what is being called “The Emily Effect.”
The Emily Effect is a campaign that has grown out of the death of Emily Cook Dyches, who grew up in Moroni and graduated from North Sanpete.
Emily Dyches died earlier this year when she apparently jumped out of a moving car and jumped into the path of traffic on I-15 outside Nephi. Her family attributes her death to post-partum depression. The goal of the Emily Effect campaign is to raise awareness of the condition.
Emily married her North Sanpete High School sweetheart, Eric Dyches. Over the years, they had five children, and according to Eric, Emily was an “affectionate and attentive mother,” although he noticed pronounced changes in her mood after the birth of their fifth child.
The couple sought professional help and shortly after, Emily was diagnosed with post-partum depression (PPD), depression suffered by a mother after the birth of a child due to a combination of hormonal changes, fatigue and the psychological adjustment to motherhood. She was also suffering from anxiety.
Following Emily’s tragic death, Eric became inspired to share his wife’s story, and with the help of Emily’s younger sister, Megan Johnson, The Emily Effect was born.
Rickie Stewart, long time friend of Emily and North Sanpete’s head volleyball coach, said each year she tries to get her girls involved in community service.
As this year’s season began, she reached out to Eric Dyches and Johnson to see if her girls could be useful in the Emily Effect effort. The result is the volleyball match-up against Manti.
“Manti is close to home,” Johnson said about choosing Manti as the competing team. “And a lot of people there knew and loved Emily.”
The game will be held tonight at North Sanpete at 6:30 p.m.
T-shirts in the North Sanpete and Manti school colors will be available for sale, with the proceeds going toward the campaign. Regular T-shirts will be sold for $12 and baseball style T-shirts will be sold for $15.
Because the shirts are decorated in each of the schools’ colors, Johnson hopes they will be worn outside of the event as a way to spread awareness of The Emily Effect and as a form of insignia wear for the two Sanpete County schools.
North Sanpete High student body officers will be available to collect donations throughout the stands, and information about the campaign will be presented over the loud speaker during game breaks.
Last night, Johnson gave a talk to female athletes and their mothers at North Sanpete High to educate girls about mental health disorders and how to get help.
“This can happen to anyone.” Johnson said. “We need to educate our youth and spread awareness that [mood disorders] do happen.”
For more information about Emily’s story, to donate to the cause, or to read stories from other mothers and families who have experienced PPD, visit theemilyeffect.org.