Our History

Your Life Counts was founded by Rory Butler in 2000 and is registered as a charity with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Rory and the YLC team have been researching, testing, proving and developing the Your Life Counts approach and resource since 2000. Guided by a world class team of advisors and experts working together with individuals and families who have either experienced a suicide attempt or have lost a loved one to suicide, YLC continues to steady and save many more lives embracing an empathic, therapeutic psychological approach in association with contemporary psychiatric practice.

Our greatest achievement has no measure as there is no way we can truly quantify the many crises that we have averted and the lives that we have consequently saved. According to our experts on our Advisory Board the number of lives saved from suicide numbers in the hundreds since we started in 2000. It is never about numbers as YLC values each and every life and every person no matter who they are; no matter where they are from - we practice unconditional care.

Selected highlights of our journey are included below - there's truly much more besides but as space is limited we are sharing some of our journey to give you some context and background. We'd love to mention everyone but it's simply not possible. Our deepest thanks to every single person and family who together are the reason why we've been able to do all that we have done.

In our evolution we have depended on our volunteers in all kinds of ways. The many hours that have been engaged in the work of Your Life Counts by so many people totals hundreds of thousands of hours. The value of all of this help taken together with the service in kind help of some great businesses totals several million dollars. This is real, quantifiable support and we're very grateful. You can read some of our endorsements here.

Philanthropy truly works when we all give of our time, talents and treasures. As we move forward our opportunity is to build our dedicated full time team and considerably build the capacity of YLC to save many more lives. If you have never donated financially to YLC we ask you to consider making your donation online now. By giving financially you help us to meet our monthly costs that can only be paid by having real money in our bank account.

Thank you again to everyone who is involved past. present and future. We can't do this without you!

As ever, if you have any questions we'd be pleased to help - contact us here.

SELECTED HIGHLIGHTS - A TIMELINE:

2013

2012

  • Bill c300 is enacted into Canadian Law - a Bill respecting the establishment of a national framework for suicide prevention in Canada. YLC Founder Rory Butler and Key Advisor Dr Adrian Hill worked closely with Harold Albrecht MP with others in the development of this important initiative.
  • Award winning ad agency Peapod Studio adopt Your Life Counts as their charity partner and begin work on reviewing YLC's operations and effectiveness resulting in key strategic recommendations that include a rebrand with new logo and an entirely new web platform built with the highest levels of security available within our means.
  • YLC participates in some important national Think Tank discussions.
  • YLC is invited to become an International Partner of the be a STAR Alliance - a joint initiative of the Creative Coalition in NYC, USA and the WWE.
  • YLC speaks in several school communities and has an increasing media presence.
  • Alicia Raimundo, a leading youth mental health advocate, joins the YLC team to develop the Mental Health Super Heroes Program. Alicia was one of the national 5 faces of mental illness across the country in 2012.
  • YLC participates in Bell Let's Talk Day and helps respond to communications online from the CTV HQ in Toronto.
  • Kevin Bolibruck, retired professional hockey player in world leagues joins the YLC team.

2011

  • Jim Thomson, retired NHL player joins the YLC team
  • YLC Founder Rory Butler becomes a Founder Member of the Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education & Living in Ithaca, NY with 'the conscience of American PsychiatryDr Peter Breggin and team.
  • YLC participates in several important Think Tanks and develops new relationships with key Universities to explore ways forward for research, development and collaboration
  • PUBLICIS launch second website representing a Sixth Generation platform
  • YLC continues to work on brand development and focus and at the same time is facilitating school presentations and workshops in communities
  • Nancy Vonk formerly Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy & Mather pulls together a Think Tank to help us understand ways forward given lack of funding and continued problems with removing stigma around the issue of suicide.
  • Advisory Board member Jeff Pontes introduces a student team from St Lawrence College to help build awareness and to validate the YLC direction to expand to include families thus bringing about a change in our mission statement to now state that YLC is 'helping youth & families nurture, protect & sustain their will to live...'
  • Linda Y Young-Gardiner, a mom who lost her precious son Chad to suicide in 2004, joins the YLC team.

2010

2009

  • YLC BULLY-180 program with Cindy Gale visits several high schools in Chinnook’s Edge, Alberta; several First Nation schools in Kahnesatake, Montreal, QC. YLC pHfACTOR program with Carol Butler visits schools in Haldimand and Hamilton, Ontario
  • Dale Vranckx breaks the Guinness World Record of Longest Distance Travelled on an Aquabike within 24 hours in support of Your Life Counts.
  • Your Life Counts representative together with Dale Vranckx, appear on CH Morning Live to share the message of YLC.
  • Marc Kajouji becomes a YLC Ambassador
  • PUBLICIS launch a first phase new website for YLC

2008

  • Highly respected Canadian national news anchor and investigative journalist Sandie Rinaldo interviews Cindy Gale in a sensitive but thought provoking debate on the dangers of cyber bullying. (Cindy’s daughter Dawn-Marie died by suicide an hour following a death threat cell phone call made to her by one of the bullies who was making her life a misery). [see http://www.ctv.ca/wfive ‘Beyond The School Yard.’]
  • PUBLICIS MODEM ) adopt YLC as an in house probono client with full agency support worth several hundred thousand dollars in the current year alone.

2007

  • Alliance Atlantis Toronto assist with web maintenance and technical support.
  • Pro-Logic Corporation in Texas, USA undertake to build some new web components for the site.
  • YLC Family & Friends Council inaugurates under YLC to help support the work of YLC.
  • YLC 2nd Annual Dinner held at Liuna Station in Hamilton, Ontario. Keynote speakers were Peggy Guiler-Delahunt and Cindy Gale. Both mom’s who lost their children, Bryan Guiler-Delahunt and Dawn-Marie Wesley to suicide in 2000. Samantha, a 17 year old girl, shared how YLC had helped steady her at a time of feeling suicidal. Ice hockey’s most famous dad, Walter Gretzky spoke and gave a powerful endorsement of the work of YLC – echoed by Country Music legend, George Hamilton IV.
  • Internationally acclaimed marketing and branding strategist Dennis Bruce designs the new YLC logo and joins the team as a key consultant.

2006

  • First ever YLC Fund Raising Dinner held at Carmen’s Banqueting Facility in Hamilton, Ontario.The evening was hosted by the Youth Council. Keynote Speaker was Anne-Marie Mediwake, Global TV News Anchor. The EmCee for the evening was Dean Allison, MP (Niagara-West Lincoln. Special Guest Speakers were Dale Vranckx, the late Mark Lehman & Peggy Guiler-DelaHunt. Almost $25,000 was raised during the evening. Our thanks again to our event sponsors AD Vacca & Associates; Mr & Mrs AD Vacca; RLG Graphics and EDCOM MultiMedia.
  • YLC partners with Bombardier Recreational Products to help facilitate a new world endurance record on a SeaDoo in 1 day piloted by “Iron Man” Dale Vranckx. The record was established on the north shore of Lake Ontario and generated excellent awareness for YLC.
  • RLG Graphics adopt YLC as a charitable partner and commit to helping manufacture banners, posters and decals etc for YLC .
  • A YLC SeaDoo FunRide is held at Toronto Harbour. Facilitated by Bombardier Recreational Products together with Snow City Marine of Toronto this was an excellent awareness success. YLC Media Spokesperson Anne-Marie Mediwake attends the event together with her husband former TV Reporter Darryl Konynenbelt and CP24's TV’s Weather Man, Bill Coulter. The FunRide had excellent exposure on tv networks the following day and was a great success.
  • The YLC Hummer Quest event initiated with the support of the Canadian Hummer Club. Over 12 Hummer Owners attended the event which was hosted by Rick McCall Pontiac, Buick, GMC in Simcoe, Ontario. The afternoon off road events were hosted at the DeVries Farm – a superb 600 acre facility with river, hills, mud, rocks and plenty of challenges. Our thanks to our event sponsor SCOTIABANK and to Larry and Joanne Hayward for allowing their H2 Hummer to be decaled up as the YLC Hummer. Many people made this event a success including Jamie Shurr and Mark Pauls. Our thanks again to the DeVries family, Kirby Shieck and O’Grady & Associates Insurance Brokers for their support.
  • YLC welcomed Cindy Gale to the team. Cindy is the mother of Dawn-Marie Wesley who died by suicide in 2000 as a result of being bullied. Cindy has told her heart breaking story on the Oprah Winfrey Show; John Walsh Show and many others.

2005

  • ‘Virtual office’ expanding with over 100 people involved with YLC in a variety of capacities worldwide.
  • Well known teen speaker Pat Buckley joins the YLC team in New Zealand speaking to over 10,000 teens across New Zealand.
  • Key role in ‘Project Hope’ – an arts competition for youth to express their understanding of ‘Hope’ – working in partnership with the Teen Suicide Prevention Forum. Increased invitations to speak and facilitate workshops and key strategic relationships developing with school speakers and musicians/bands including very prominent North American teen band ‘Thousand Foot Krutch.’
  • Over 700,000 teens reached personally at events, concerts etc across the North America.
  • YLC Erie 500 Challenge event – first ever successful attempt by “Iron Man”" Dale Vranckx to circumnavigate Lake Erie on a production Sea-Doo from Bombardier Recreational Products (SeaDoo Division).
  • The YLC Youth Council takes a big step forward and constitutes formally with a commitment to help shape the development of YLC
  • Roger Trull, V/P of McMaster University, Hamilton joins the YLC team as a key advisor
  • Over 26 teens that we know of decided to live and embrace their lives as a result of YLC ‘s steadying hand in their lives. There are many more that we don’t know about that have also been helped by us in many ways.
  • TV News Anchor Anne-Marie Mediwake agrees to join the YLC team as a Spokesperson.
  • New YLC Aboriginal Youth Program developing.

2004

  • New website designed, built and launched by DraftDigital – Project Managed by Corey Messom of Draft.
  • New web hosting arrangements put in place by the web team to cope with the increased traffic
  • Clarkson University partner with YLC to produce mini documentary covering the life of Travis Waters and featuring the connection with YLC.
  • Over 10,000 students spoken to in schools and community events by Carol Butler with the ph FACTOR Program.
  • YLC TV ads aired on Time Warner Network in the USA and on other networks in Canada and the USA reaching over 10 million households, generating over a million hits over an 8 month period.

2003

  • New logo designed by DraftDigital.
  • “The Winner” animated cartoon completed by joint collaborative between Ex’pression College for Digital Arts and Industrial Light & Magic – huge scope to do much more
  • New interim office location established in Caledonia, Ontario as YLC HQ.
  • YLC participates in the 9th Annual Canadian Investment Awards held at the Liberty Grand, Toronto – a Silent Auction for YLC was held and the YLC TV commercial “The Mirror” was shown during the Awards Ceremony.
  • YLC was a founding member of the Suicide Prevention Council based in the city of Hamilton, Ontario – in partnership with the Police, Health Unit, City of Hamilton, Salvation Army (Suicide Crisis Line) and The Canadian Centre for Addiction & Mental Health, among others. Several new initiatives launched including one major workshop in which YLC played a leading role.
  • Nearly 700,000 ‘hits’ on the YLC website

2002

  • YLC participates in the Ferrari Maserati Festival, UK together with 2 Canadian youth under the TeenLight program. The 3 times BAJA 1000 Hummer Racing H1 Hummer is shipped over to the UK to attend the event as a feature vehicle. The Hummer Racing Team join the YLC crew at the event with help, in part, from Air Canada. Eric Clapton makes a special guest appearance at the event – the largest Ferrari event of its kind in the world outside Italy.
  • YLC was given some awareness exposure at the Canadian Investment Awards. Silent Auction for YLC held at the 8th Annual Canadian Investment Awards in the Royal York Hotel, Toronto – the main financial services industry event in Canada.
  • New Pure Heart program established to provide sexual education and health, wellness and responsibility teaching events at schools and colleges.
  • New 30 second animated cartoon project “The Winner” initiates in California under the guidance of former Senior Animation Director of Industrial Light & Magic, Paul Griffin.
  • YLC is registered as a charitable organization in New Zealand, UK and the USA by founding CEO Rory Butler.

2001

  • Ferrari UK agrees to help YLC raise awareness at the Ferrari Festival; Brands Hatch UK.
  • New TeenLight program partners with Ferrari UK at the Ferrari Festival, UK with YLC teen Jonathan Pascall from the UK
  • New website completed with oversight from DraftWorldWide and help from Dirt Design

2000

  • Odyssey International Hummer Racing becomes a strategic partner

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Title photo courtesy of Angela Vincent