Giving back and not giving up 

Artist Eric Waugh energizes Dennehy Foundation fundraiser with live painting performance to music of Fabulous George and the Zodiacs


By Nicole Fitzgerald

What: Rock ’n’ Roll concert

Who: Eric Waugh and Fabulous George and the Zodiacs

When: Friday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Buffalo Bills

Tickets: $25 at the door (cash only)

A friend of the Dennehys mailed in a letter in response to artist Eric Waugh’s call for outstanding citizens who contribute greatly to the community.

Kerry and Ginny Dennehy turned the tragedy of the death of their son Kelty into a life-long commitment to cracking the code of silence surrounding depression.

The two Whistler parents founded the Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation, an organization that raises both funds and awareness to help youth combat depression.

In addition to education and diagnostic programs, the foundation also contributed $1 million to the construction of a new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Building in Vancouver and $500,000 to fund the work of psychiatrist Dr. Allan, B.C. Leadership Chair in Depression at UBC, who studies the causes and treatments of severe psychiatric disorders, particularly mood disorders.

The Denneys’ story stood out from other letters Waugh received and instead of only presenting the Dennehys with the intended painting honouring their service, Waugh is now flying from his Montreal home to Whistler to lend his performance art talents to the 5 th annual Drive Fore Life Golf Tournament Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.

Waugh will be painting at the Rock ’N’ Roll concert fundraiser featuring Fabulous George & the Zodiacs Friday, Sept. 29 at Buffalo Bill’s. The painting will then be auctioned the following night at the Drive Fore Life Gala Dinner at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.

Besides, he reasons, it gives him an excuse to see the Dennehy home in person, so that he can return to his Montreal studio to create the perfect artwork inspired by their spirit, so that each time they see the painting, they in turn can remember what bright lights they’ve become in the shadows of depression.

“It’s always nice to get recognized, a little pat on the back to say you are doing a good job — one of those pay it forward things,” Waugh says from his Montreal studio.

“The whole idea behind the award was to create artwork for a person, so they can put it in their home to brighten their lives. I was just blown away with the Dennehy story. They’ve done so much in such a short amount of time. I didn’t plan this contest to help out this person, just to recognize them, but when I found out about the golf tournament, my mind started spinning and I asked how I could help her out.”

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