MARYVILLE, Mo. — This year, three families and five individuals have come forward as ambassadors to share their stories to help connect people with the 2021 St. Francis Foundation Gala’s cause, mental health.

Though the stories vary, their hopes are the same: to normalize the talk around mental health and help those in need. The following information is from the St. Francis Foundation Gala: Hope Lives Here giving website at: event.gives/hope2021/items.

Each ambassador is collecting donations on behalf of the gala. Their stories and videos are available on the gala donation site and through links provided below.

  • The Sherry family, lost a husband and father to suicide 14 years ago. The family hopes to normalize talk around mental health. To hear more about their journey visit: youtu.be/fPqxnTOZJBQ.
  • Ashlee Hendrix has battled depression most of her adult life. She hopes to take away the shame of mental illness and open a dialogue. To hear more, visit: youtu.be/TTtPBNK1e6o.
  • Cayla Vertreese, a junior at Northwest Missouri State University, hopes to proactively change the conversation, awareness and education for the mental health community. To hear more, visit: youtu.be/UUBSeCwIQdc.
  • Grady and Lisa Hilsabeck’s family was forever changed when daughter Baylee Hilsabeck took her own life at the age of 16. The couple hopes that as ambassadors, they can begin to offer mental health resources and real change for the children across the region. To hear more from the Hilsabeck’s visit: youtu.be/aMqvoxZJvKM.
  • Lindsey O’Riley Martin took on the ambassador role to find purpose after seeing family members suffer from depression. Hear her full story online at: youtu.be/5xB943FelXM.
  • Molly McVinua’s mental health journey began in middle school as she suffered from anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self harm. Through counseling she has found a bright future teaching elementary students in Kansas City. Hear her full story online at: youtu.be/fg9k9KHy8Co.
  • Nick Rucker didn’t always know how to handle the stresses of life, and after two deployments in the Army he took a path of addiction. Using music, his recovery is well on its way. To hear more about Rucker’s journey visit: youtu.be/eJJaCZkLMm4.
  • Landon and Chancey Herbert’s son Ledger lost his battle with depression in 2018 even after extensive efforts in counseling and rehabilitation. As ambassadors his parents hope their efforts help bring awareness and encourages those suffering to talk more openly to get the help they need. More about their story is available online at: youtu.be/s_CUE5Xgxn0.
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