Oh, What A Launch! Two Sides, May, 2013

**IMPORTANT NOTE: Having gone through so much in my life while struggling with illness, I have come to realize the utmost importance of having people by your side during difficulties.  Reach out to a parent, a friend, a loved one.  Reach out to me, to anyone.  There are always people to talk to.  Talking is life saving.

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Oh, what a launch
Early May, back in ‘13
What a very special time for me
As I remember, what a launch …

Sorry, I got carried away.  After the huge success of my opening book launch at St. Patrick’s High School on May 11th, I couldn’t help but have the Four Seasons ringing in my ears!  Oh, what a launch it was!  Let me take you back …

May 11th, at 9:45, a dreary, wet Saturday morning, I approached the steps to my old high school, carrying a box of books.  The cool, crisp air blew in my face as I made my way up the steps and into the “mall” of the school.  It was a quiet emptiness that I will not forget.  God, where was everyone?  A tap on my shoulder seconds later reminded me that we were an hour early!  “Relax, Chris.”  Hey, come on, I was a bit nervous!

We started to unload the books and the food and the drinks, and over the next hour, more than 15 amazing helpers (thanks to all of you … couldn’t have done it without you!) began to walk through the doors carrying every item needed, also lugging canned foods that all guests were asked to bring for their “entry fee”.

At 10:30, our music duo showed up, with amps, microphones, extension cords and guitars.  The Acoostic Shooters were about to rock the atrium, and they did!    By 10:45, the music began, we had our first guest arrive, and I signed my first copy of Two Sides To The Story: Living A Lie.  It was a very special and proud moment.  Within minutes, a line began to form at my special “signing table” and, by 11:15, there were at least 20 people in line!  Oh, what a launch!  For the next four and a half hours, my mouth talked, my arms hugged and my pen signed to the tune of close to 200 books!!!  Wow!  The rain did come down outside, but the show did go on.

I want to pass out a huge thank you and much praise to the Acoostic Shooters, who played for over four hours entertaining the crowd!  They played all our favourites, right from the 60’s to now, even rocking out acoustically to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.  They turned the song into a classic!  Gaga, take note!  Jason and Eric, again, I thank you.  www.acoosticshooters.com

The guests enjoyed food, drinks and mingling.  With friends, siblings, children and relatives, approximately 400 to 450 people walked in and out of St. Patrick’s throughout the day.  The guests enjoyed themselves tremendously, as I slaved away, signing book after book.  Ok, not slaved, but I do remember needing to roll my wrist many times over.  It was a pain well worth it!  We also collected close to 500 canned goods that were picked up by Shepherds of Good Hope.  Well done everyone!

I want to thank all of you for your support during the day, for purchasing my book and for wanting to learn more about my story, about mental health and the terrible stigma it bears.  I stayed hidden for over 10 years.  No one should ever have to.  I hope that my story and my journey will bring forth those who have had to hide in fear, so that they can be accepted with open arms.  1 in 5 may suffer, but 4 in 5 standing beside them, suffer for them.  We are all in this together.  It is always time for change.

Overall, May 11th was a huge success.  It could not have gone better.  Besides, my pen was out of ink anyway!  Thanks to everyone for making my day so special.  With so many loved ones surrounding me, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the blessings that God has given me.  I also couldn’t help but leave that day humming to the tune of “Oh, what a night!”