Walk to remember lost Kaidyn
Everyone who knew Albany’s Kaidyn Manley knew him as a boy who was full of life with a cheeky smile to prove it.
His sister Tahnee Manley described him as “a big softie”, a 12-year-old boy who was always on the go and loved to surf from dawn until dusk. “He’s always full of life. He got up at 5.30 every morning because he couldn’t miss a moment of every day,” she said.
When the family received a call in January and learned Kaidyn, pictured below, had taken his own life, it shocked them to their core.
Tahnee said her family had never been the same since.
“It happened only a couple of weeks before he turned 13,” she said. “It came as a complete shock to everyone, to all his family and friends.”
To deal with the tragedy, Ms Manley and her mother Michelle Cagnana sought help from a health counsellor and turned to close family and friends, who gave them plenty of time and space to grieve openly.
“We’re incredibly fortunate that we have amazing friends and family around us,” Michelle said.
“We understand that it’s important to talk about it, even though it’s hard and the feelings are incredibly uncomfortable at times. “We made sure we talked about Kaidyn every day to his little brother, so we’re keeping his memory alive.”
Kaidyn’s family are now using his story to raise awareness about youth mental health and suicide in their community.
Tahnee has vowed to trek 135km from Cape Leeuwin to Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse in memory of her brother as part of a fundraising event hosted by Zero2Hero. “I’m doing this walk for Kaidyn and also for other young people out there who are struggling with mental health issues, because I’d hate for my story to happen to another family,” she said.
“This issue is so real and it’s happening down here in Albany and I just want to stop the cycle and stop more people from committing suicide. Kaidyn’s been the youngest one, but there’s been a lot of others after him. I want to let everyone know that it’s OK not to be OK and to seek help when you feel you need it.”
Tahnee will carry a picture of her brother during the week-long trek to remember the joy Kaidyn brought the family.
Michelle said she was proud of her daughter’s decision to walk in memory of her brother and to comfort other families who had gone through the same thing.
“I just want to tell everyone who is affected by suicide that it’s OK to grieve and to grieve as long as you need to,” she said.
“Everyone’s journeys are different, so just listen to yourself and be kind to yourself, do what you need to do to get through the week.”
ALBANY FIRST VIGIL
Tahnee and her family will be attending Albany’s first Suicide Prevention Day Vigil today, organised by the Albany Suicide Prevention Advisory Group.
The group is a partnership between headspace Albany, Palmerston, Youth Focus, WA Primary Health Alliance and Relationships Australia.
The From Darkness to Light vigil will be at Albany Town Square at 6pm to support those who have lost loved ones and break the silence around youth suicide.
Headspace Albany manager Andrew Wenzel said if the community could move past the stigma, they would be able to heal together and let families grieve more openly.
He said there was no evidence to support the suggestion talking about the issue could increase the rate of suicide.
“We felt as a group that part of being a more compassionate and stronger community that has greater awareness of how to prevent suicide is to actually come together and start talking about it,” he said.
“To start showing support for one another, especially for those who are bereaved by suicide and often have to struggle in isolation.”
If you would like to help Tahnee raise money for her Cape2Cape walk, visit bit.ly/2kpr6VI.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails