Fundraising Superstar Shares her Passion for Mental Health

Fundraising Superstar Shares her Passion for Mental Health

Article by: Alison Wines, Communications Consultant, CMHA York Region South Simcoe

Here at CMHA-YRSS, we are fortunate to have some amazing supporters, who raise substantial funds to keep our programs running and build awareness of our work within our communities.

One of these supporters is Judy Brunton, who devotes an enormous amount of time and energy to raising thousands of dollars every year for MOBYSS.

From nine to five, Judy is an administrative assistant at a post-secondary institution. But her superpower and her passion is hosting annual events to fundraise for mental health – the next of which is just around the corner on 2 November.

Judy hitched her fundraising wagon to CMHA-YRSS six years ago. Her oldest son is a keen cyclist, and she was looking to support an organization that held an active fundraising event that included cycling. She came across Mental Health in Motion (MHIM), and it seemed like the stars were perfectly aligned.

She was already passionate about supporting mental health causes: Judy’s sister was diagnosed with her first mental illness at the age of 15 and as she got older, Judy wanted to help in any way that she could. Six years ago, her cousin tragically passed away from depression, and last year she lost her brother to causes indirectly associated with mental health issues. Judy is well aware that mental illness can affect anyone, and these personal experiences fuel the substantial energy she gives to helping ensure youth have the tools and resources to access help when they need it, and don’t feel the same sense of stigma that older generations have.

Each year Judy and her sons volunteer and ride at MHIM – her older son, remarkably, rode in the 20km event at the age of seven.

While Judy notes that awareness is important, she says “money is more important – that’s what funds the MOBYSS bus!” She jokes that she doesn’t know anyone rich enough to donate large sums of money, so that’s why she “works her ass off” to hold third party fundraising events.

At her upcoming event, which will take over the whole Newmarket Community Centre, she has sourced over 40 vendors including Avon, Tupperware, a book seller and, perhaps most enticingly, will have a whole ‘pampering’ area set aside where participants can get makeovers, hair styling, manicures and even top it all off with a professional photography session.

Last year’s event raised over $9000 for MOBYSS, topping her previous fundraising record by an incredible 50 percent. Judy is determined that this will be her new benchmark, and wants to grow her fundraising efforts year on year.

Asked about her hopes for mental health in the future, Judy is quick to mention the impact of stigma, noting that it still remains incredibly difficult for youth to share concerns about

their mental health and navigate cultural and community bias and misunderstanding. “If you feel scared to talk, you’ll get worse and worse, it’s progressive. I hope that stigma will disappear so that, no matter who you are or what you have going on, you can talk to anybody”.

In what little spare time she has, Judy is a devoted mom, taking her kids to hockey and gymnastics training. But, she says “this is my passion – I eat, sleep and breathe mental health”.

Want to attend Shop 2 End Stigma?

The event is happening at Newmarket Community Centre, this Saturday 2 November from 10am – 4pm.

Entry is just $2 and all are welcome.

Find out more by visiting Judy’s website:

5th Annual Shop 2 End Stigma