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Memorial bonspiel raises funds and awareness for youth mental health


An annual bonspiel is bringing curlers of all ages together in memory of a teen who passed too soon.

Alisha Wilson, a Grade 9 student from Alliston, died of suicide in 2018. She was 14-years-old.

Friends and family describe Wilson as joking and thoughtful, as well as a stand-out athlete.

“She was a pretty accomplished athlete in gymnastics and then moved over to trampoline and tumbling,” explained Ken Irwin, director of the Alisha Wilson Memorial Bonspiel.

The event, which was held Friday at the Elmira & District Curling Club, attracted 14 adult and youth teams.

It raises funds and awareness for youth mental health, with all money collected going to the Woolwich Counselling Centre.

Alisha Wilson is remembered as a jokester with a big heart. She died by suicide at the age of 14 in 2018. (File)

“There’s so much struggle with our youth, especially since the pandemic, and unfortunately that’s really made it prevalent,” said Melody Bridgen-Martin, junior curling youth coordinator at the Elmira & District Curling Club.

'If we help one person, then it’s all worth it'

Irwin first heard of Alisha while working at the Alliston Curling Club.

When she passed, he started the memorial bonspiel in her honour, later moving the event to Elmira.

“It goes back to when I was in school as a kid, and being bullied in school, and, you know, [I] wanted to make a difference for others to make sure that others don’t experience that,” he explained.

Curlers take part in the Alisha Wilson Memorial Bonspiel at the Elmira & District Curling Club on Feb. 3, 2024. (Tyler Kelaher/CTV Kitchener)

Alisha’s relatives made the trip down from Alliston for the reception dinner on Saturday night.

Coming into the weekend the bonspiel had raised $3,000.

Organizers hope Alisha’s legacy helps youth find a light at the end of the tunnel.

“I think she would be happy to see that people care to be a part of something like this,” Irwin said. “If we help one person, then it’s all worth it.” Top Stories

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