Raising awareness about mental health, suicide through unique car

Kaitlyn Bishop and District 1 HRM Councillor Cathy Deagle Gammon at the Wellington Vendors Market a few weeks back. (Healey photo)

WELLINGTON: A local family is raising awareness about mental health and the impacts suicide have.

The Bishop family—Wayne and daughter Kaitlyn—were at the Wellington Vendor Market recently selling shirts and hoodies that have Wayne’s Hot Rods & Customs emblazoned on them to raise money towards a tribute car—a 1970 Plymouth Cuda Pro Touring Car—they’re building in memory of Chris Bishop, Wayne’s son, and Kaitlyn’s brother.

At the market, Kaitlyn was assisted by Councillor Cathy Deagle Gammon in the selling of the product. Recently, Deagle Gammon and Councillor Tim Outhit from Bedford pledged their support to the Bishop’s and the wonderful cause they’re taking on in honour of Chris.

Tragically, Christopher took his life last year at the age of 19.

“What we’re doing right now is basically anything we sell that money goes into the car for us to buy the next part or just to get that tiny item that we might need,” said Kaitlyn. “We’re at the point now where all of our savings is gone, and this is where we’re at.”

The plan is to showcase this unique vehicle at all major car shows throughout Canada and the United States once complete, all the while sharing their story and sparking discussions with others on this very challenging, important topic surrounding mental health and suicide.

When Chris had passed away he had already purchased a rear end; rims and tires; engines; and transmission for the Cuda, a car he absolutely loved.

“I looked at dad and said we had to finish it,” she said. “That’s when we started to figure the plans and the idea. It went bigger then we thought with raising awareness of mental health. We want people to talk until we cannot drive this car anymore.”

Kaitlyn said it’s surprising how many people are affected by mental health and suicide in their community.

“Between everyone we’ve talked to I think one in every second person has a story to tell us, which is quite amazing and quite sad as well,” she said.

She said there are days that are emotional rollercoasters.

“Some days you love working on it, and then some days you don’t, and you have to step away from it,” said Kaitlyn. “That’s the other thing is that the car is helping us get through what happened.

Kaitlyn said the family expects the car to be completed in the next couple of years, driving on the road ready to go.

She wanted to thank everyone for the support they have received.

“If everyone can just continue to share and make people aware that we need to talk, that mental health affects us all,” she said.

You can also follow along with the build/tour, and support this cause by connecting with Wayne’s Hot Rods & Customs on Facebook or by visiting www.wayneshotrodscustoms.com.