Perseverance, Integrity, and Passion

Erika Elkington, 29, passed away on August 6, 2015 and was one month away from celebrating her 30th birthday on September 6. 

In her obituary it was said:

"She was loved by all. Those who had a chance to know her will tell you, her spirit and drive were infectious and she brought joy to everything and everyone she touched.  

Why Erika is no longer with us today is difficult to understand.  Mental health and suicide is often like that; difficult to understand.“

ErikaErika was a shining star in this world. She was a visionary who believed people had greatness within them and success was something we could all achieve.

Erika took on many challenges, whether they were  physical or educational, she conquered them all.  Her passions were travel, health, languages and constant learning to better ones self.  She spoke multiple languages and had seen much of the world by the age of 26.  By 29, she had completed a Bachelor of Education, a Certified Human Resources Professional designation, graduated from the Sauder School of Business in family business and earned an MBA.

She also loved business and entrepreneurship.  Business played a large part in her life, her passion for teaching and learning mixed well in her business pursuits as she focused on helping women in the workplace, youth and start-up businesses succeed. 

Deep down, she was a girl who was unsure of herself at times, but determined to push herself and find her greatness. She did not think success was found in grades or money, she believed it was found by being loving, funny, caring, warm and inspiring to any person she came in contact with. She thought the world was kind, good and just.  Honesty and truth were the only way to live, even if you get “taken for a ride” some days.  Her love of family and the legacy a family creates, was her passion. 

Erika was not what most people would associate with suicide. In her final hours she wrote:

"I had an incredible life, one I treasured, one I don’t feel I earned. I was blessed. I was loved. And this is on me. I was not strong enough."

Erika’s closest friends and family started to gather after her death to explore what we could do to make a difference and honour her legacy. From the outset, we decided to do three things to honour her - we would take bold, innovative approaches to prevent what happened to her, from happening to other people,  we would support leading by investing in the science behind suicide and mental health,  and we would celebrate the life that was lived by promoting entrepreneurship, leadership and inspiring others to become the best version of themselves in our efforts.