On Friday night, NHL Network premiered a short documentary on Do it For Daron, the movement to spread awareness about mental health. DIFD was founded to honor Daron Richardson, daughter of Islanders assistant coach Luke Richardson, who took her own life in 2010 at the age of 14.
The video is narrated by Islanders head coach Doug Weight, a longtime friend and teammate of Luke’s. It’s a very emotional and moving story of a life lost far too early and a hockey family that came to support each other.
The Islanders hosted a Mental Health Awareness and Do it For Daron Night on January 6th against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The game raised $34,296, including a $25,000 donation from the Islanders players and coaches, that went to DIFD and their initiatives. A portion of the ticket sales have also gone to Northwell Health System’s Mental Health Program on Long Island.
Luke, his wife Stephanie and their daughter Morgan are incredibly brave for coming forward with their grief in order to help others. The issues of suicide and mental health obviously transcend hockey. But it’s inspiring that they can use this platform to spread awareness and prevent more tragedies.
“People talk to kids about drinking and driving and sex. Mental health is something we also need to talk about. To be honest, we didn’t know to ask. These are hard conversations to have. But I think that’s changing. It’s OK to reach out for help and talk about your feelings.”