Morgan Schurman remembers the day her late sister Wendy came home from work at Saskatoon’s Princess Alexandra School without mittens.
Before her death, Wendy wanted to borrow a pair of Morgan’s mittens, to which the younger sister asked why.
“Well there was a woman walking down the street,” Wendy told her, explaining how the woman looked cold and needed to cover her hands.
The moment, and the several repeated instances of it, serve as the catalyst to Mittens for Wendy, a social media campaign which sees Morgan crocheting more than 100 pairs of mittens for people in need.
Wendy, the older sister, was a teacher’s aide who loved keeping active and a triple-triple cup of coffee from Tim Hortons.
She also struggled with multiple head injuries, post-partum depression and bipolar disorder, her family members said.
To cope, she turned to alcohol and on Nov. 24, 2012, took her own life.
“I remember every single moment of that day. It’s burnt into my mind. I probably won’t ever forget it,” Morgan said.
Hope Schurman, Wendy’s mother, is optimistic Morgan’s project will raise awareness around the issues of mental health and suicide.
“When she had just a few mittens, I’m going ‘that’s fantastic,’ but I didn’t think it would go this far,” Hope said.
Wendy’s 15-year-old son, Blake Ironside, also welcomed the effort.
“I thought it was great because it was such a cool way to raise awareness and bring up the topic of mental health and suicide,” he said.
Roughly 450 people follow Morgan’s mitten campaign on Facebook.