Beautiful, caring, creative, and outgoing: these are all words Bev Fletcher says described her daughter.
Alexis Fletcher was 17 years old when she was diagnosed with chemical depression.
Three days later, on Dec. 8, 2015, she took her life.
A year after Alexis had passed, her mother started the Believe in Hope Foundation – in her daughter’s honour. The foundation runs in collaboration with the IWK Health Centre through an endowment fund.
The point of this foundation is to provide education on mental health.
Alexis Fletcher was the type of person who always put others above herself. The person her friends went to talk to, but she never wanted to open up to anyone in return.
“I can’t tell you all my feelings because it would hurt your feelings,” Fletcher can recall her daughter saying.
Fletcher was sitting at a hair salon after Alexis had passed, when a young girl in the salon noticed a bracelet on Bev’s stylist’s wrist. It was one that the Believe in Hope Foundation sells. The stylist then told the girl who was sitting in the chair next to her: Bev Fletcher, Alexis’ mother.
Turns out this girl had moved to Alexis’ school when she was in grade ten and it was Alexis who had approached her to invite her into Alexis’ friend group.
“She was my really sensitive one. Always really funny, wanted to make everyone laugh,” Fletcher says.
Alexis was also expressive; she was a dancer, an artist; creative in so many ways.
Her solo dances always had a story – it needed to be something she could feel. One was titled “I Care.”
She “loved to draw, loved to sew, loved to knit,” says Fletcher. “Dream catchers, bracelets – also sew a dress and wear it to school.”
She was always Youtubing different things to try, according to her mother.
The bracelets that the foundation sells are tokens that represent Alexis.
The flowers carved onto them, are from a drawing that Alexis did. The words: “Believe in Hope” are from a bracelet that Alexis always wore. It had the word “Hope” on it. Now, it can be found on her mother’s wrist.
Fletcher wears three bracelets on her wrists: one of the bracelets the foundation sells, the “Hope” bracelet, and a pearl beaded bracelet from a set of three that was Alexis’.
The other two bracelets from the set of three are worn by each of Alexis’ sisters. Alexis was the youngest of three; her two older sisters Alycia and Ashley are both involved with the foundation.
“She adored her sisters,” says their mother. “She always wanted to be exactly like her sisters.”
Alycia is the eldest and currently working on a novel about her experience and life with her little sister, Alexis.
The Believe in Hope Foundation has been doing many fundraisers since its founding in 2016. They have an annual soccer tournament; the first year there were eight teams, last year 12; this year they’re aiming for 16.
A major goal for the foundation is to be present in schools across the province, educating not only students, but also teachers, about the dangers of mental health.
Alexis and her mother went through months of being sent home from hospitals, being put on wait lists, and never getting the help she needed. Fletcher believes that through awareness and education, stories like this will become fewer.
Alexis’ diagnosis came too late.
Her mother’s not sure if it was really accurate either. There was no time to find out.
That’s what Bev Fletcher hopes to prevent with the Believe in Hope Foundation.
As she walked away from the interview, Bev gave one piece of advice:
“Enjoy every day.”