In May of 2012, Hannah Ouellette died of suicide at the tender age of 15.
The youngest of Andre and Tammy Ouellette’s three children, Hannah was a bright light who loved to dance, listen to music and hang out with her friends and family. Her death was a staggering blow not only to her family, but the community. While dealing with their grief, Tammy and Andre made the decision to start the Hannah Ouellette Memorial Supporting Suicide Prevention Resource Fund.
“We wanted something positive to come out of Hannah’s death,” says Tammy. “When we decided to create the fund, we were still in shock and dealing with so much sadness and grief it was good to know we could still do something positive for others.”
As a family, the Ouellettes decided that starting a fund in Hannah’s name was a concrete way to ensure her name and memory would live on. “We remember and think of Hannah every day and will for the rest of our lives, but in the midst of everyday life other people forget. Other people forget about Hannah and how she died and the impact that has had on our lives,” notes Andre.
Ensuring others do not have to experience the loss of a child, or anyone they love, to suicide, is the focus of the Hannah Ouellette Memorial Fund.
“We are aware of the lack of resources the community has to support people dealing with mental health concerns as well support families affected by the loss of someone to suicide,” says Tammy. “We wanted there to be ongoing funds available to help others that have been in the same situation we have and thus the fund is designated for the Suicide Prevention Resource Centre, Breakfast Club. A program for youth 9 to 17 who are overwhelmed and struggling. ”
Both Andre and Tammy have strong roots in Grande Prairie. Born and raised in Grande Prairie, Andre is the co-owner of Curry’s Jewellers with his brother Michael. An active member of the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Association and past Rotarian, Andre also serves as a public-school board trustee. Tammy has also lived most of her life in the Swan City, moving from Yellowknife when she was eight-years old. Tammy is owner of Centerpoint Facilitation, an agency that supports people with disabilities, as well as the homeless, and does a variety of facilitation work throughout Northwestern Alberta.
All three of the Ouellette’s children were born in Grande Prairie, with son Keifer recently returning to the Swan City to live and work for Inclusion Alberta at the GPRC and daughter Madeline currently living in St. Albert, where she also works for Inclusion Alberta at NAIT.
Hannah was truly loved by her family and friends and the fund in her name with the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta, will ensure her memory lives on and that there will be help for others dealing with mental health concerns or the loss of a loved one to suicide.
“We have had family members die of heart failure and cancer, but nothing can prepare you for suicide and the loss of a child. This was not an issue or cause for our family, this is our reality and our life,” says Tammy.
You can make a difference in our community – not only for today but forever. When you make a donation to the Hannah Ouellette Memorial Supporting Suicide Prevention Resource Centre Fund, we invest that gift into a permanent endowment fund and the original gift is never spent. Earnings from your gift are distributed in our community to support the Suicide Prevention Resource Centre, Breakfast Club. Donations can be made online here https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/40107 or by calling the Community Foundation at (780) 538-2820.