I am the mother of three boys anda local East Fremantle mum, and I am always moved by the community support for Kai-Fella. Kai was my middle son and the Kai-Fella story begins when we lost Kai to suicide on 26 July 2016.
With the support of friends and the local community, Kai-Fella was created with the hope of saving young people’s lives and preventing other families from having to endure such excruciating pain.
Kai had many of the traditional services in place to manage his depression – GPs, psychologists, psychiatrists and medications – but what he was lacking was a voice.
I am not ashamed to tell people that Kai took his life – I am just sorry that he didn’t have the words to reach out and ask for help.
~ Claire Eardley
After losing Kai we established an Everyday Hero page, so that people who wanted to do something to show their love and support, could contribute that way instead.
The support from the local community was staggering. In six weeks, we had over $60,000 in donations.
After contacting a national charity that offers support in the mental health space, I came to realise that we had no control over how the money was allocated.
The idea of providing workshops in schools started when watching a TV series that highlighted the workshops provided by an organisation called Tomorrow Man.
It occurred to me that our $60,000 could be providing Tomorrow Man workshops here in WA. The community support was still immensely powerful for Kai – so we continued to fundraise with the idea of getting Tomorrow Man to come to WA. We held our own event – Pilates for a Purpose at my Silas Street Physio + Pilates practice – and started again with our fundraising efforts.
A small miracle occurred when I called Tomorrow Man to see if they would come to WA – as their founder Tom Harkin was available to take my call and wanted to help!
In May 2017, Tom sent his friend and colleague, also called Tom, over to WA to run the first eleven workshops here. So we were up and running!
Suicide is the biggest killer of our youth; we lose seven boys and two girls every day.
With the help of local accountant Daniel Papaphotis our charitable status was approved in 2019, and we became the Kai-Fella Foundation.
Having exhausted the ever-loyal Silas Street Physio community, we realised it was time to look outside of our immediate family and friends. It was time to make my dream of 500 workshops in WA a reality.
In 2023, Kai-Fella funded those 500 workshops, right on track to meet my bold and audacious goal that was set in 2018. With support from our local community and beyond, we havereached over 11,000 West Aussies. It is our goal to make these workshop available to every young West Australian.
How you can support Kai-Fella
Attend the Ball
Last year at the Kai-Fella Ball, we raised $115,000, but we know we can do better!