This award is to honour our only child, Kevin Gordon Rankin. Kevin, our son, was born in 1996 at Belleville General Hospital, one month early and after seven years of trying. He was our only child. He grew up in a loving home in Trenton, with family close by, and with a couple of dogs. We loved being with him, and Kevin went with us on all our holidays, extensively traveling from Eastern to Western Canada, New York, to California, and all places in between. He was a very smart young man – he was Valedictorian in public school, and received awards for high marks in secondary school. He was top of his class at Algonquin College in Ottawa, where he studied in the Electrical Engineering Technologist program, receiving numerous awards for his high marks. He was a very kind person, respectful, and helpful. His friends would come to him for help at school, for help with electronics and building computers, and repairing i-phones. Kevin was always up to date on the newest gadgets and with the latest technology. We were always asking him how things were going, if he was doing alright, and he always answered “yes”, only to find out later he was struggling mentally. He was struggling as he thought things weren’t going the way they should be, and he would hold things personally for a long time. Kevin was fighting untrue thoughts; near the end he would voice negative statements about himself, such as he was stupid or that he didn’t know how to do things. Even though he was an accomplished, awarding-winning student, a helpful friend, and a loving son, his brain was telling him otherwise. Someone told me once: “the brain can heal the body but can’t heal itself”. We took him to counseling, and doctor started him on medicine to help him, but by the time he revealed his struggles to us, his suicide was only 1 ½ weeks away. He was only 22 years old. His final letter to us said how much he loved us, how we had given him a great life, and he wouldn’t have changed anything, but he couldn’t stand the pain anymore. It’s ironic that after this happened his friends would come up to us and tell us how Kevin helped them, but nobody could help him. We miss our son terribly, a large part of our heart has been ripped out. We are always thinking about him and the pain he must have been going through. We wonder how he could have kept these struggles hidden for so long until it was too late. His last words were “I am free now”. We hope this award will help a committed student who is studying in the mental health field, particularly depression and psychosis.
Gord and Marie Rankin
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