MT. PLEASANT—Despite cold and very wet weather, the “Stay to Play” softball tournament had a great turnout.
Thirteen teams participated in the softball tournament to raise money for mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
“Everyone was just so supportive and in such good spirits; it definitely didn’t rain on our parade,” said event planner Lacey Rosenlof.
Rosenlof decided to put this event together to do something that would bring the community together in a new and fun way.
“I originally thought of doing a 5K, but after playing ball with my kids one Sunday afternoon, I had the thought to change it to a co-ed softball tournament,” said Rosenlof. “My brother loved to play ball, and we loved to play ball together.”
Suicide prevention and awareness is very close to her heart because she lost her little brother, Kaden Collard, to suicide one year ago, October 10. It has been a very heartbreaking and heavy experience for her entire family, and many friends. She said that after it happened, she just kept thinking, “We need to change this! We need to be proactive in helping people and bringing awareness to this issue. We need to take the shame and the stigma that surrounds mental health and suicide away, and start having the hard conversations before it’s too late.”
Taryn Hiatt, Utah Director for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention came to the event and spoke. She is a suicide survivor herself, and having lost her father to suicide 19 years ago, she too knows and feels this close to her heart. She said that suicide is such a thief. “It robs everyone; those we lose and those left behind,” she said. “We have got to band together and make a difference so that we can stop losing people.”
Central Utah Counseling Center also came out to support the cause and gave out several goodies, along with UniteUS, a resource for people in our community who need help coordinating their care, including mental health resources.
Linda Christiansen of Manti brought beautiful signs for her “Be A Light Project,” which also brings hope and awareness to mental health and suicide prevention. And colored bracelets were available for participants.
“It is amazing the relationships that come out of the woodworks and the bonding that can take place when we become vulnerable and realize that we all have struggles and can relate and help each other,” said Rosenlof.
There were several businesses that donated resources to make this event possible, including Cache Valley Electric, Cache Valley Bank, Poulson Drilling, Willow and Grace, Stanley, Untreaded Custom, The Sign Makers and so many other individuals.
“It truly was a team effort and so many people helped and donated their time and talents. Even with the cold weather, everyone was so positive and supportive, and made everything such a success,” she said. “We were able to raise over $12,000 this year. The money raised will be used in a direct approach for different things that will bring education, awareness and resources directly to Sanpete County and its residents.”
There are plans to make this an annual event for the community.