Stacey Zegers' own story is a huge reason that bullying is such an important issue for her. She was born with cataracts, and at age five underwent an operation during which the lenses of her eyes were removed. “I didn't have a choice; I had to wear these thick glasses, so I stood out amongst everyone else,” she recalls. “I really felt alienated and I really felt like an outcast."
Between the ages of eight and 12, while attending St. Mary's Catholic School in West Lorne, Ont., she was teased and bullied. “I started spending more and more time alone; I didn't feel like I had anyone to talk to,” she recalls. “I would miss a ton of school just because I didn't want to be there. I would stay home in bed.”
The silver lining was that Zegers picked up guitar and began writing songs during that time. But when Zegers entered West Elgin high school, she also, briefly, took her pent-up and unresolved anger out on others, becoming a bully herself. “I was able to get contacts and I turned around and started teasing other people. That went on for a couple of years, and then something in me sort of clicked. I said, 'What am I doing? I need to move on from this,'” Zegers confesses.
She made the decision to switch schools and start with a clean slate. At Westminster high school, in London, Ont., she adopted a new outlook that everyone was the same. “I hung out with the band people; I hung out with the more poplar girls; whatever group that I was interested in,” she says.
Zegers didn't realize Kids Help Phone existed when she was growing up. “I didn't know anything about it, and back then the issues of bullying and suicide weren't as much in the forefront as they are today. Nobody really talked about it,” she says. “I really felt like I needed to talk to somebody, but I didn't think that anyone would understand.”
Even if one bullied or troubled person sees the "Sunflower" video and decides to call Kids Help Phone, then Zegers feels her mission has been accomplished. “Maybe kids need somebody to talk to, but they don't want their parents or their friends to find out. You tell Kids Help Phone what you want to tell them and it's totally confidential.”
“Sunflower” has been viewed more than 3400 times, and one of the messages she received about it was through her Facebook page, from a girl who now attends West Elgin, where Zegers once went. “She said that I really inspired her and that she was going to spread the word about the video. Things like that are really great to hear,” says Zegers.
As for her future plans, Zegers is currently writing songs for her sophomore effort, a double disc, for a tentative summer release. She is also looking at extending the “Sunflower” message by touring schools across Canada as a motivational speaker.
“I'd like to get a presentation together and start going to high schools,” she says. “With my music, I've done it all on my own, and I feel like I could inspire kids to believe in themselves.”
Proof of Story
No proof images submitted yet.
No proof audio submitted yet.
No proof video submitted yet.
No comments yet.