Operation Mental Health is a success as over €8,710 is collected for It's Good 2 Talk
Cheers rang out on Wexford Quay as Gemma Hayes officially unveiled the total amount raised through her 'Operation Mental Health' initiative at a cheque presentation last week.
A total of €8,710.65 was presented by Gemma to Chairman of It's Good 2 Talk Robert Redmond as a result of the fundraiser, which saw 1,000 fresh gerbera flowers thrown from Wexford Bridge on Wexford Festival Opera opening night. The funds were raised through flower sales, along with additional corporate and individual donations and will fund counselling services for those currently on the It's Good 2 Talk waiting list.
'I was so proud,' said Gemma after the presentation. 'I was so in the zone on the night of the release but what we had done really hit home when I presented the cheque today.'
'This money will go towards helping people in the community. It will allow people in crisis to get the counselling they need which could serve as the interjection before someone goes too far.'
Along with being a fundraiser, the flower release also served as a mark of respect to loved ones lost to suicide and a sign of support to those currently stuggling with mental illness. Gemma, who began planning the event in September, said she was 'blown away' by all of the support she received, from companies, friends, family and a host of volunteers.
'All of the volunteers had all been touched by mental health problems in one way or another, whether they suffer from a mental illness themselves, have in the past or have a family member who is affected,' she said. 'So they all get it. They all know the effects of mental illness and understand how the dynamic of a family changes when somebody is suffering.'
All of the flowers were supplied by Rosaleen's Flowers, who Gemma said were extremely supportive of her cause. They were paid for by the Hayes family, along with Gemma's best friend Sharon O'Connor.
In light of the fundraiser, Gemma wishes to thank Mayor Frank Staples, Cllr Davy Hynes, David Martin (Wexford County Council) and Angie Laffan (Wexford County Council) for their help in organising the event, as well as all at It's Good 2 Talk. She also wishes to thank family, friends all of those who supported the event, through corporate and individual sponsorship and volunteering.
'This is what we have achieved in the county. Together we can achieve more,' she said.
In a statement, It's Good 2 Talk expressed their 'most heartfelt appreciation'.
'Through the efforts of Gemma Hayes and her team, the people of Wexford and the business community demonstrated their magnamimous care and generosity in donating over €8,600 to IG2T. This will greatly enhance the ability of IG2T to access further the needs of clients, in turn allowing IG2T to carer to our waiting list which runs anywhere from 15 to 40 people per week. This in itself shows the positive chanhe in public attitudes and behaviour towards people with mental health problems in our community.'