Jamie was a great child, full of energy and happiness. At an early age, Jamie wanted to try being a figure skater. Being the supportive parents Wendy and Allan are, they enrolled him in a local program.
Over the years, some youth at Jamie’s school would learn about Jamie being a figure skater and not a hockey player. This is when the bullying began. Bullying for Jamie began with the cruel names but also included physical abuse. Jamie was a victim at this point in his life and victims rarely speak up. It is painful, they feel weak or vulnerable and also feel that speaking up will only make it worse. Jamie rarely spoke about what was taking place. During grade 7, while taking the school bus, Jamie’s tormentors were relentless. Jamie was harassed and insulted over and over. Jamie kept it in while trying to remain positive.
After several weeks, someone spoke up on Jamie’s behalf and notified his parents of what was taking place on the bus. Wendy and Allan acted quickly. Jamie was removed from the school and no longer took a bus.
It was around this time that Wendy and Allan observed a noticeable change in their son. He wasn’t as happy and appeared more reserved. Jamie agreed to see a mental health specialist where it was clear that Jamie was struggling.
Going into high school, Jamie was excelling at figure skating. In fact, he was winning many awards for his abilities. With depression, however, he stopped doing what he loved so much. He was slowly closing himself off. It was around this time that Jamie attempted to take his own life. When Jamie entered high school, he hoped that the bullying would end. Believing that this would be an adult learning environment, he thought it would be better. Sadly, it was not. A few males and females were relentless with Jamie. Of course, with Jamie being a victim, he rarely shared. He certainly didn’t fight back or put anyone down. He kept it in.
During his time in grade 10, Jamie came to terms with his sexuality and shared with his family that he was gay. All were very supportive of Jamie, as were his friends.
Jamie wanted to help others within his school who may also be struggling with sexuality or bullying and decided to create a club to support these youth. Jamie called it the ‘Rainbow Club’ and created some hand-made posters for the school hallways.
Over the course of a few days, Jamie saw that his posters were being torn down which devastated him. All he wanted to do was help others by creating this club and yet this terrible act was taking place.
On October 14th of 2011, Jamie had had enough. He just couldn’t take it anymore and felt that things would not get any better.
Jamie committed suicide and died in the early hours of October 15th, 2011. Jamie wrote a final letter on the internet where he expressed just how bad things were and wanted to tell his parents how much he loved them and that this was not their fault. He also stated that he could not wait another 3 years for things to get better.
No one at school knew that Jamie was suicidal because he didn’t show it. People who are struggling as much as Jamie do not ‘have signs over their heads, they appear the same as everyone else.
The words people used, the actions they took against Jamie drove him to depression and ultimately to commit suicide.
You can now see why Jamie is my inspiration. Jamie is someone that I would be so proud and honoured to have called my friend.
Jamie never called anyone any names, never put anyone down and certainly never fought back while being bullied. The last thing he wanted to do was hurt others, even when he too needed help. He truly wanted to make this world a better place.
In March of 2013, I travelled to Ottawa to meet with Wendy and Allan myself.
I had the honour of being in the same home that Jamie was raised and nurtured. The family was so kind to share with me family photos of Jamie and encouraged me to post them on this website.
Allan wanted everyone to know that Jamie was a child. He was just a boy. He is their son.
I will forever keep Jamie’s story and message alive. I will tell the world about Wendy and Allan’s son named Jamie.
R.I.P Jamie. You are my Unicorn.