ROANOKE, Va. – Tudor House hosts a summer fun fundraiser Saturday to tackle mental illness.
Every year, the non-profit throws the annual Big Kahuna fundraiser with a swim meet. But this year, a new tournament was introduced.
Splashing around on alligator pool floats or diving to reach the finish line, 125 swimmers raced at the Hunting Hills Country Club to honor Louis Tudor.
Eleven-year-old Natalie Thorell said it’s a fun way to swim with her friends and give back.
“It was good,” Thorell said. “It was very fun. I liked it.”
Tudor was a Roanoke swim coach who struggled with mental illness and ended up taking his own life two years ago.
“It means so much,” Tudor House Scholarship Chairperson Miki Smith said. “Lou was my swim coach and to be able to do this for him. It’s an honor.”
However, this year the non-profit added a golf tournament to the fundraiser.
Sixty-four golfers gave it their best swing to prevent mental health crises.
Last year, a donor challenged the non-profit to raise $100,000. The non-profit reached the goal and was awarded $50,000 by the donor.
The money will be used to create a health and wellness center and launch youth programs, according to Tudor House Executive Director Kathleen Thorell.
“We are also starting a teen ambassador program so we can educate teens and have them educate their friends,” Thorell said.
It’s gatherings like this that can help people recognize the shoulders they can lean on when days are tough, Thorell said.
“I think the more that we talk about it and the more that we have discussions within our family that hey you can have good days and bad days and that’s ok,” she said.
A silent auction and an adult social wrapped up the night.