D.I.F.D. Youth Mental Health Awareness Night is designed to inspire conversations, highlight the issues of youth mental illness, and promote organizations and resources within the community that offer mental health support services to youth and their families. The fundraiser was conceived in honour of Daron Richardson, the 14-year-old daughter of Senators assistant coach Luke Richardson who committed suicide last November.
In support of the initiative, Senators and Flyers players will wear D.I.F.D. decals on the backs of their helmets during the game.
On Saturday, Senators president Cyril Leeder, general manager Bryan Murray and members of the coaching staff will wear purple D.I.F.D. ties during the game to show support. Purple was Daron Richardson’s favourite colour and is the designated colour for the initiative.
Prior to the start of the game, Senators wives and girlfriends will join members of the Ottawa Women’s Hockey Association, volunteers from CHUM Radio Ottawa and Sens Foundation president Danielle Robinson in an effort to raise funds through the sale of D.I.F.D. bracelets ($5) and pins ($5), along with D.I.F.D. mini-sticks ($10), t-shirts ($20), ties ($20) and autographed D.I.F.D. mystery pucks ($25). There will be 500 D.I.F.D. mystery pucks signed by members of the Senators and Flyers. In addition, there will be five unsigned pucks, which will entitle the lucky purchaser with the opportunity to meet Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson
and Flyers captain Mike Richards post game.
Upon entering Scotiabank Place, fans will receive a D.I.F.D. pamphlet that includes a donation envelope that can be submitted during the in-game collection in the second period or mailed to the Sens Foundation. Fans can also donate $5 by text-messaging DIFD to 45678. The NHLPA will match funds raised up to a total of $15,000. All proceeds from the sale of D.I.F.D. merchandise and in-arena donations will assist the Sens Foundation in meeting the $100,000 pledge it made to support the Early Identification and Intervention Program for Youth at the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.
Fans looking for more information can visit the foundation’s community corner, located behind section 201, where representatives from the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health, Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa, Children’s Hospital of Ontario (CHEO) and the Canadian Mental Health Association will be available to answer questions.
Under its health pillar, the Sens Foundation supports mental health initiatives geared towards children and youth. Since 2009, the Sens Foundation has pledged $1.5 million in support of charitable organizations focused on meeting the needs of families with children and youth suffering from mental health illnesses.
For more information D.I.F.D. and Saturday’s event, please visit www.sensfoundation.com