Listen Up! fundraiser for Distress Centre Calgary a very personal cause for musician Rich Paxton

I was 22 when my Mum died by suicide. I was 23 when my brother attempted the same thing, with catastrophic effects to the rest of his life physically and mentally. I try not to talk too much about my family’s experiences with suicide because, as much as I fucking hate myself for feeling like this, I don’t want to be seen to be using that stuff to look for attention etc. (I’m good enough at being an attention-seeking dick without doing that.)

Needless to say it fucked me up, and is a daily struggle sometimes, but I am incredibly lucky to have great people around me, none more so than my wife, Lauren.

On Saturday, Nov. 24 at Dickens Pub, she and I will be holding the fifth annual X92.9 presented Listen Up! fundraiser for Distress Centre Calgary, the 24-hour, 7-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year crisis support hotline in Calgary and Southern Alberta.

We can all do something to help those in our great city and beyond who are in the same position my Mum and Kev found themselves in, and many people you know could end up in given a certain change in circumstance. It’s unthinkable to some, especially parents, to reach out to their kids or family and be honest about feeling suicidal, depressed etc. Understandably, they don’t want to worry their kids, family and often, those family members are the only support system they potentially have.

This is just one area that Distress Centre Calgary can be a significant and life-saving resource, an anonymous voice to reach out to, receive help, find ways to cope a little better. It can only survive on donations and every tiny bit helps.

If you know anyone at all that you think is in need of help, don’t feel awkward or shy about reaching out to them or suggesting they contact the Distress Centre any time at 403-266-4357 if they feel uncomfortable confiding in those closest to them.

On Saturday, not only do you get to help an amazing charity, helping many people you know, you get to hear some amazing music from The Ashley Hundred, Free the Cynics, The Northern Coast, Betaboys and In Search of Sasquatch, and bid for some crazy silent auction prizes.

Tickets are $5 cheaper on Eventbrite, with all proceeds going to Distress Centre. If you can’t make it along to Dickens on Saturday, you can donate by clicking here

I can guarantee you the funds will go to helping Calgarians more than I could ever put into words here. I wish my family had access to or knew about such a service when we needed it. Don’t be shy to speak up, you never know how far it can go to helping someone.

Thanks for reading, I know it’s long and dark, but I want to show how important a place like the DC can be to so many. x

(Note: This story originally appeared as a Facebook post. Photo of Rich and Lauren Paxton courtesy Haus of Skrastins.)

Listen Up! takes place Saturday, Nov. 24 at Dickens Pub, with all proceeds going to the Distress Centre Calgary. For tickets please click here

Rich Paxton is a local musician who fronts Calgary rock band Free the Cynics and he’s been a longtime volunteer at the Distress Centre Calgary.