After losing their 18-year-old son six years ago, Tanya and David Broomhead decided to mark the anniversary of his death by raising $12,000 for Lifeline, a service they believe could have saved his life if he’d reached out.
Tanya Broomhead has walked 6km or more every day for the last month to mark the sixth anniversary of her son Ethan’s death, and to raise awareness of mental health. Her husband David has joined her for many of these walks, both of them wearing specially printed t-shirts that were Ethan’s favourite colours – blue and orange.
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, they wanted to promote awareness of how important it is to open up and talk about how people are really feeling. They also want to let people know that suicide can affect anyone and it’s important to talk about it because in many ways, it is still a hidden disease.
Tanya Broomhead says Ethan’s death blindsided the family and “was a massive shock to everyone who knew him and his school community. We were left with lots of questions that will never be answered, the biggest one being what did we do wrong?
“Ethan was a warm-hearted, fun-loving boy who was always laughing, always willing to help and be there for his friends when they were going through a tough time. He was a loving, supportive big brother to Brooke, always looking out for her. He was calm and level-headed and loved sport, people, and woodwork. It’s important to me now to keep his name alive and hear his name spoken. I want people to talk to me about him.
“As well as marking the anniversary of his death, our other main focus has been fundraising for Lifeline, an organisation that works to prevent suicide so that fewer people will go through what we’ve been through. Hopefully this money will help save someone’s life.”
Lifeline Operations Manager Helena de Fontenay says working at Lifeline, you can see how important a phone call or a text is for someone – it can actually save a life.
Lifeline receives around 10,000 calls and receives and sends 30,000 texts every month from people in distress. We support on average 15 to 20 people at high risk of suicide every day.
You can support the Broomheads’ cause here.