Roses in the Ocean’s Platinum Raffle Raises Funds for Suicide Prevention

The 22nd of August was the The Roses in the Ocean Charity Cocktails Event, which took place at the Riverlife venue in Brisbane, Queensland. The event, which also included a raffle as one of its major fundraising opportunities, offered tons of support and education about suicide prevention.

Bronwen Edwards, the founder and director of Roses in the Ocean, explained more about the organization and the fundraiser. “Roses in the Ocean is a suicide prevention charity and we host a Charity Cocktails every year as our primary annual fundraiser,” she said. “Our guests speakers have a lived experience of suicide and this year Madonna King was our [emcee] for the night and she held an informal conversational interview with our guests.”


Roses in the Ocean was created after the death of Edwards’ brother Mark, a highly respected ex RAAF Fighter Pilot combat instructor and international commercial pilot. The organization, states its website, aims to prevent suicide by “empower[ing] our communities to change the way suicide is understood, spoken about and ultimately prevented by engaging them through a variety of opportunities to hear the wisdom of people with a lived experience of suicide and learn ways in which they can protect themselves and their loved ones.”

The strategy Roses in the Ocean uses to prevent suicides includes creating opportunities for a more meaningful connection between members of the community when it comes to suicide prevention, embracing and learning from the experiences of those touched by suicide, changing how suicide is understood and spoken about, sharing real life prevention behaviours that empower people to live full lives, and raising funds for suicide prevention and resilience building initiatives.

The roses in particular have a special meaning. The roses, states the organization’s website, symbolizes friendship, love, sorrow and hope. Roses were also placed in the ocean near Mark’s home after his death. “Placing the roses in the ocean is a tangible way of acknowledging all the lives lost to suicide and representative of your ability to reach out and connect to other with a strong clear message of understanding, acceptance and support,” states the site.

To promote the event, Edwards stated that “email invites and event promotions to our database” were used as well as social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Promotion also occurred “through the networks of our supporters [and] local print media,” she said.

Many supporters came to the event even with the weather making it tough. “The event was a great success with 200 guests joining us (Despite the shocking weather!),” said Edwards, adding that the event had an “[e]xcellent band, amazing prizes and auction items.”

“The best part of the event was the incredible vibe in the venue,” she said. “Guests were having fun and yet very engaged in the cause and the reason for being there.  The band was superb and the food from Riverlife excellent.”

If you’re planning an event similar to Roses in the Ocean Charity Cocktails Event, Edwards said to certainly have a backup plan in case of inclement weather.”If hosting at Riverlife, definitely have a wet weather plan[,]” she said.  “Once at the venue, the rain is not a problem so long as you have the right number of guests and don’t have to spread over various parts of the venue.”