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About Hole out for hope

Schizophrenia society of ontario's annual golf tournament

The Hole Out for Hope Golf Tournament is an annual fundraising event spent on the green! All proceeds raised directly assist families and individuals living with schizophrenia and psychosis across the province. This event is a great opportunity for corporate supporters to make a difference in the mental health sector, and invite clients to a great day of golf, benefiting a great cause. Hole Out For Hope is coordinated by a dedicated group of SSO supporters; Fred Howe, Craig Sindrey and David and Lesley Skelly.

ABOUT The committee

Craig Sindrey
My brother Mark was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his early teen years. I was in my late teens and neither me or my parents had any idea about the illness. We knew Mark was suffering with something we were unable to understand and we didn’t know how to help him. The supports were not there for my parents (other than our family physician) and Mark was eventually institutionalized. This was a very scary time for Mark and our family – can you imagine being 14 years old, hospitalized and separated from your family?

We fortunately found Dr. Swierczek at that point and he has been a support and guide for Mark throughout his life. He was able to get Mark out of the hospital, balance his difficulties, and currently monitors Mark’s successes and struggles as his life moves ahead. 

Mark holds a full time job as a forklift operator and is a functional member of society. He loves our time at the cottage and spending time with me and my friends. He loves music, especially rock music and has even been known to Karaoke to La Bamba and Wonderwall on occasion. Mark has a dedicated friend, Mike Wermescher who has been with him since elementary school. Having this caring friend has helped Mark tremendously over the years and we think of Mike as a member of our family.

The Hole Out for Hope is my way of helping to get more supports in place for the families of people with Schizophrenia. I do it for Mark, my parents, and for all those affected. 

Craig Sindrey
Fred Howe

My mother June was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 60, but experienced mental health issues for many, many years before that. She grew up in a very musical household with her brother Eric, attending the Royal Conservatory of Music and performing in a variety of stage productions and even sang with Tommy Hunter. Eric was a brilliant pianist who played with many of the local acts in Toronto as a studio musician. When he began to have mental health issues in the early 70’s no one suspected it might be schizophrenia, but upon reflection after his death alone in an apartment fire, I suspect this may have been the case. As a child, I remember being very afraid of Eric in one minute, and sitting at the piano singing joyfully with him as he played in the next. I also remember my beautiful active mother singing in choral groups, involved in the legion, baking pies, cooking roast beef dinners, and caring for a son who had 17 operations on his feet as a child. But I also remember screaming fits, and lots and lots of yelling at times. Suddenly one day Mom was gone, and when she returned, she was a very different person. At the age of 32 I decided that I needed to investigate my mother’s illness, and discovered that my mom’s issues were not “ladies problems” as they were diagnosed back then and treated with shock treatments, but schizophrenia; and her treatment was a very mild dosage of meds.

I am involved with Craig in this new fund to help support people with schizophrenia and their families. By raising awareness of the illness, we have a chance to improve the services available and to ease the lives of many, many people. I want to take words like “psycho” and “freak” out of our vocabulary and I want to find a way to end the stigma that surrounds this illness 

Lesley & David skelly, in honor of kit skelly

 Kit was born 24 years ago. He was a very special little boy – gentle and pensive with a great sense of humour and a twinkle in those beautiful eyes. He grew up with an older brother and younger sister, doing all the things that siblings do together.

He was an accomplished musician who played the piano, clarinet, and guitar. He sang in a couple of school musicals and played in a band. He was an avid reader, loving fantasy and science fiction the most, but would read anything recommended to him. He had lots of friends from JK to Leaside High and they loved playing together, making movies, having sleepovers, camping, playing football & basketball, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts. More recently there were barbeques and afternoons spent chilling together with a beer.
Kit loved to travel -- trips across Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific and down to the Gulf of Mexico. He has been to Mexico, Ecuador, France, England, many Islands in the Caribbean and to Kenya and Tanzania. He did a wonderful Outward Bound trip around Lake Superior when he was 14. His dream was to be a doctor with Doctors without Borders so he could work and travel at the same time.

When he was just 19 years old in second year of Guelph University he started hearing voices, being paranoid, delusional. Very quickly he spiraled down to a place of deep psychosis and was admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Kit recovered after his first episode of psychosis, went back to Guelph and then to Ryerson. He seemed to be okay, but as often happens with this illness, he stopped taking his medications, the voices and delusions came back stronger, and he found himself living on the street getting shelter at Covenant House. He spent the last four years of his life in this vicious cycle of taking his meds and getting well, going off his meds, being hospitalized, then being well and it would all start again. After his last hospitalization his brother offered him the apartment in his basement. So for the last 14 months Kit has lived with amazingly kind brother Adam. He has seemed pretty stable most of this time -- a few little ups and downs but we really thought he was okay. We have learned this week through his writings on his computer that the voices have never stopped tormenting him. He put on such a great face for all of us. Unfortunately he could no longer cope with the nightmare in his head and had to end his life. He didn’t deserve this disease, he didn’t choose it and he certainly never wanted it.

The voices are gone now. He is finally at peace. We have all wished we could have done more, got him more help, that we could have saved him but we couldn’t He truly believed this was all a virtual world, the matrix. None of us were real to him and he had to end his torment.

The only thing I ask is to help stop the stigma of mental illness, especially schizophrenia. Help us get our society to accept people with these devastating mental illnesses. Talk about it, share with your kids, learn to recognize it in those young adults who are most susceptible to it. Don’t be afraid of visiting someone in the Psych ward. Embrace and support your friends and family that may be going through this as well.

Finally, please remember Kit as the happy, sensitive, fun loving kid he was. Remember his beautiful smile and the sparkle in his eyes and his lovely laugh. Keep him close to your hearts.