Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun donated $10,000 to The New Foundation, a local foundation.
“This is a local one,” Chychrun said in a video. “It’s nice to be able to visit and almost be hands-on in a way. I had a great visit there. I was able to speak with a lot of the students and staff… It just made me want to donate that much more and contribute to what they’re doing there. It’s really special.
“They’re getting the help they need and are able to move on and move on to better things. I think continuing to visit, speak with the staff, see new students and share my personal experiences with them might be able to help and it’s something that I’m looking forward to doing for sure.”
Chychrun, 21, has a personal connection with mental health awareness. He lost his cousin, Daron Richardson, to suicide even though she showed no signs of depression. She was only 14.
After losing its loved one, the Chychrun family created the DIFD (Do It For Daron) foundation and has preached to not be afraid of reaching out if anyone is struggling. Even just lending an ear can save someone’s life.
“It’s crazy how just talking and letting people know of your struggles can help,” Chychrun said.
“There are so many people including myself who are out there willing to listen to you. Sometimes it’s all you need. … Just be there for them. Listen to them. Listen to how they feel… It goes a long way. It can help someone in the beginning steps of getting help and ultimately saving their life.”
Earlier this year, the Coyotes held a “Yotes Talk” Night, an initiative based on the NHL’s “Hockey Talks” to encourage conversing about mental health and supporting organizations to help those struggling.
“Tragedy is something I hope nobody has to deal with,” Chychrun said in a video. “Unfortunately, we had to go through it as a family and now we’re doing our best to prevent it from happening again… We’re in this together.”
To join Chychrun and the Coyotes in the conversation, use the hashtag #YotesTalk on Twitter.