Brother's suicide prompts push to highlight issue
AFTER her brother Shaun Marshall took his own life six months ago, Shari Marshall struggled to get out of bed.
"It was absolutely heartbreaking. It tore all of us apart," she said.
"His death put me in a pretty dark place myself. I needed something to help me, to give me a reason to get out of bed."
And so one month after the 26-year-old's death, Ms Marshall, supported by her fiance, signed up to walk the Kokoda Track.
"The principles of Kokoda are closely aligned to mateship and endurance," she said.
"But also, the thought of pushing through when you think you can't is really relevant to suicide too."
She will embark on the trek in April, but Ms Marshall also wanted to start the conversation in her home town of Gladstone, among those who knew and loved her brother.
And so she started organising a fundraising ball for the end of the month.
"Before six months ago, I had never been personally affected by suicide," she said.
"Since then, three young men I know from Gladstone have taken their own lives.
"It's a tragedy and it is everyone's responsibility to make it stop."
She wants the world to know there is no shame in talking about your feelings.
"Let other people in," she urged.
The Unmask Yourself masquerade ball will be held at the Grand Hotel on January 31.
"All of us wear a mask - some physical and others not," Ms Marshall said.
"But every time the world loses such an amazing person it becomes a duller place. We need to do something to stop suicide."
The evening intends to capture everything that made Shaun shine out in a crowd.
Entertainment, fun and friendship will merge on the evening from 6.30pm to help be the light that helps others.
Tickets are $100 and will include one drink, finger food and live entertainment by local duo Call To Grace.
Proceeds will directly benefit Lifeline.
- Beyondblue 1300 224 636
- Lifeline Crisis Support Chat 13 11 14
- Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
- Kids Helpline 1800 551 800