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Get ready to dance for a good cause June 24 in Cobourg

Cecilia Nasmith

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today

Dave Stothart is hoping to see old friends and new at the June 24 dance he is putting together with sister Allyson (left) and daughter Karly. It's a benefit for the Lakeshore Community Mental Health Services.
CECILIA NASMITH/Northumberland Today

Dave Stothart is hoping to see old friends and new at the June 24 dance he is putting together with sister Allyson (left) and daughter Karly. It's a benefit for the Lakeshore Community Mental Health Services. CECILIA NASMITH/Northumberland Today

COBOURG - 

Dave Stothart is ready to dance again — or at least to go back to organizing the fundraising dances everyone once enjoyed so much.

On June 24, Dave invites you to join him in a big bash at the Best Western Cobourg Inn and Convention Centre as a fundraiser for mental-health initiatives in Northumberland County.

An activist for child sexual abuse, he not only spoke out but organized fundraisers in support of such organizations as the Sheldon Kennedy Skate, George Chuvalo’s campaign against child drug abuse, Blue Jays Rob Butler’s baseball camp for underprivileged children, the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness and the Martin Kruze Foundation.

Then his wife Marie was diagnosed with breast cancer, and he began organizing fundraisers for organizations that reflected what the Stothart family was going through — The Healing Centre, the Northumberland Hills Hospital (for chemotherapy and palliative-care units as well as for a new CT scanner), the Survivor-Thrivers Dragon Boat Team, Cottage Dreams, the Kingston hospital radiation department, the Kennedy sisters’ Easter Basket drive and the Cobourg-Port Hope Candlelight Walk breast-cancer fundraiser.

Marie Stothart died June 3, 2010. And in the words of a close friend, Dave just lost his mojo. The family organized one fundraiser several months after her death, but they found it very difficult.

Now a Peterborough resident, Stothart had been thinking over the past couple of years about how much fun the dances were and how much good they did. His daughter Karly suggested he might give it another whirl.

“I took Karly’s advice,” he said.

“It’s time to do it again, and have some fun.”

This kind of thing takes him back to his youth, when there was always a dance somewhere and it was always a good time with your friends.

“It’s a nice thing to get a bunch of people together you haven’t seen for a long time, and there’s a lot of people I haven’t seen in this area for a while,” he said during a recent visit to Cobourg.

The cause of mental health is dear to his heart, as it is for his daughter and his sister Allyson.

It’s heartening for Karly to see the stigma attached to this subject gradually fading. As one who has suffered depression, Allyson agrees.

“We all have friends we know who battle depression,” Dave said.

Karly believes everyone faces this struggle at some time or another. But for some people, it’s a life-long battle.

“You are not alone,” she said. “The whole community is here.”

Dave is looking around for silent-auction items and door prizes (if you can help with that one, give him a call at 1-705-768-5822) and putting on the finishing touches, but he is already looking forward to the dance. He has heard from old high-school friends who will be going to the dance, people he hasn’t seen in years.

“We can have a good time getting together and reminiscing,” he said.

The June 24 dance runs from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Best Western, with proceeds supporting Lakeshore Community Mental Health Services.

The $25 ticket includes a light lunch, and is available at Moxy’s (where Allyson works), at the Northumberland Hills Hospital Foundation office, or from the Stotharts — contact Dave at twofeathers9@hotmail.com or Karly at karlystothart@hotmail.com.

cnasmith@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/NT_cnasmith