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South Surrey-White Rock moms spearhead ’80s-themed fundraiser for mental health

Feb. 5 party hopes to raise funds, ‘encourage discussion’
Traci Farden (far right) at an ’80s-themed cruise ship party. Farden is among organizers of an upcoming ’80s-themed fundraiser to benefit Canadian Mental Health Association-BC Division. (Contributed photo)

Traci Farden is no stranger to the struggles of mental health – growing up in Abbotsford, the impacts of it were all around her, in her family and the community.

Back then, nobody talked about it.

“You didn’t in those days,” the now-South Surrey resident said.

And while things have certainly improved in that regard, the 53-year-old mother is determined to see even more change.

READ MORE: Report ‘confirms’ mental health care is improving in B.C.

“It’s getting better and we need to have that conversation and help to reduce that stigma so more people will come forward and get help,” she said, during an interview earlier this month.

“I want to be part of the discussion.”

To that end, Farden and a handful of other moms on the Semiahmoo Peninsula – following a dinner conversation with friends that turned to reflecting on how lucky they were – made a decision to do what they could to give back.

Each of them has a connection in one form or another to mental health, she said, noting that connection ranges from navigating a personal journey to witnessing the experiences of a family member, friend, work colleague or neighbour.

“We all knew somebody that had struggled, so we decided we needed to do something to make a difference,” Farden said. “We thought a fundraiser for mental health might be a good way of doing it.”

In the months since, they’ve formed Making Tomorrow Better – a non-profit organization focused on supporting charities that offer assistance to those in need, while encouraging the conversation around mental health.

First up, they’re supporting the Canadian Mental Health Association-BC Division, and tickets to their first fundraiser went on sale Nov. 10.

The ‘Bringing Back the 80s’ party is set for Feb. 5, 2022 at the Museum of Surrey, and the hope is to sell 200 tickets for the affair.

Organizers have set a “lofty” goal of raising $20,000, Farden said, and attendees are encouraged to get into the spirit of the decade for the occasion.

“Our demographic hasn’t done much (since the pandemic started), so we’re looking to let our hair down – or up, depending on your hairspray.”

Farden said she’ll be looking to an outfit she donned while on a cruise a few years back for inspiration.

The selection covers everything from neon and big hair to Madonna gloves and more. It was, she said, “just ridiculous.”

The heart of the matter, however, is anything but ridiculous.

“The stigma and the isolation and people not wanting to be your friend… When you talk about it you find there are people who can really relate,” Farden said.

For tickets ($75) or more information, visit
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Tracy Holmes

About the Author: Tracy Holmes

Tracy Holmes has been a reporter with Peace Arch News since 1997.
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