Staff and store had been donned in blue at the Gunnedah Woolworths during the last few weeks in preparation for an annual fundraiser.
Maddie’s Beyond Blue fundraiser was held at Woolworths’ carpark last Wednesday with plenty of goodies to sell and prizes to win.
All profits made from coffees, sausage sandwiches and other items, were given to the mental health charity Beyond Blue.
Many had endured the cold weather out the front of Woolworths to sell raffle tickets and ‘100 clubs’ leading up to the event.
More than 70 raffle donations had been given by Gunnedah businesses, with some prizes worth hundreds of dollars.
The generosity of businesses and community has been unwavering with this year’s total reaching $13,500 and counting.
Gunnedah’s Maddison Smith was only 21 years old when she died by suicide.
Parents Vicki and Barry and sister Gabby Smith were left heartbroken along with those close to her and the family.
They have been leading Gunnedah’s fierce fight against depression since then, in the hope it will save many other lives.
The Smiths continue to organise a fundraiser every year in Maddie’s name on her birthday.
The momentum started from Patrina Marshall and a handful of kindhearted colleagues from Vicki’s work who raised $3000 from a sausage sizzle and three raffle prizes a few months after Maddie’s passing.
Since then, as July rolls around, the community digs deeper into its pockets for a good cause and a sausage sizzle.
Gabby has been organising fundraising online and spreading the word on Facebook each year.
“I could not do it without her,” Vicki said.
An ongoing online fundraiser page has been collecting donations for four years titled ‘Never Again – In Honour in Maddie Smith’.
High praise was also given to the dozens of volunteers who show up each year from those up the front selling raffle tickets, to those behind doors baking treats to sell.
The Smith family gave special thanks to Rosemary Constable who helped sell tickets each day along with Michael Allen and David Finlay for firing up the barbecue.
Amanda Browne and her sons Tristan and Jackson along with Myra Gisborne, Sue West, Sandra Tydd, Tania Keath, Karen Hudson, Sandra Lane, Jenny Finlay, Patsy Cruickshank and Irene Small helped bake treats.
Beyond Blue has become synonymous with the mental health message and serves as a reminder to check in on the mental health of other people and yourself.