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Crosstown rivals unite for teen mental health awareness

by BlueJackets.com Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets


Dublin, Ohio — Dublin crosstown hockey rivals Jerome and Coffman are joining together on Friday, January 30, 2015, at 7:00 pm at the Dublin Chiller in a game that raises awareness about teen mental health issues.

The game benefits former Columbus Blue Jacket Luke Richardson's foundation in memory of his daughter, "Do It For Daron." www.difd.com.

Just over four years ago, Daron Richardson, at the age of 14, died by suicide. From this tragedy came the “Do It For Daron” Foundation, a movement to support young people who suffer from mental health struggles -- so they don’t have to do it in silence. The mission of the DIFD Foundation, started by Luke and Stephanie Richardson, is to raise awareness, inspire conversations and transform youth mental health.

“Luke and Steph have used their tremendous, unimaginable loss and Daron’s love for hockey to save more lives,” said Andrew Cassels, a former Columbus Blue Jacket who played with Richardson and currently lives in Dublin and is special teams coach for Coffman. “I am truly honored to support my friends and our community.”

This is the second annual game in which these two historically rival teams come together in a show of community unity and support for the cause. Last year’s game completely filled the Dublin Chiller with fans, families and media. More than $3,000 was raised during last year’s game through donations and a silent auction. These funds were shared with DIFD, and three local mental health agencies to support their continued efforts in the field of youth mental health.

After the success of last year’s Jerome vs. Coffman DIFD game, the Columbus Blue Jackets Alumni Foundation staged an alumni game benefitting DIFD in November that featured several former Blue Jackets players including Cassels, Fredrik Modin and Jody Shelley.

Last year Shelley participated in the Jerome/Coffman inaugural DIFD event and continues to support the cause. He said, “It is so important for us to lead the way in helping to erase the stigma associated with mental health.

DIFD and youth mental health platforms provide a vehicle to not only educate, but also to validate that however someone is feeling, it is okay. These are powerful resources to help people understand the steps to take.”

PHOTO/VIDEO & INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES:

-The Dublin Chiller will be filled with purple, the color of the DIFD Foundation as players from the two rival schools will wear special DIFD purple and white jerseys — the same style worn in the CBJ alumni game. This is the first year the high school teams have worn the foundation’s jerseys. Last year they wore their school jerseys.

- Blue Jackets Senior Vice President and General Counsel Greg Kirstein will drop the puck for the Jerome/Coffman DIFD game.

-Several local teen mental health resources will be on hand at the game including Dublin Counseling Center, OSU/Harding Behavioral Health Unit and the United Methodist Children's Home.

-Interviews can be arranged with players, coaches and organizers in advance or at the game.

-Phone interviews can be arranged with Shelley or Cassels in advance of the game. They are unable to attend this year’s DIFD game due to out of town hockey commitments.

-High quality photos will be available to interested media outlets following the game.

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