Rob McIver (Advocate file photo).

Benefit concert held in memory of young Red Deer man with schizophrenia

Musician Rob McIver will perform Friday afternoon at The Hub on Ross

The untimely death of a young friend has spurred a Red Deer musician to perform a benefit concert for the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta.

Rob McIver will sing some original country and folk tunes, as well as covers, at the The Hub on Ross Street from 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday, March 9. Admission to his concert is free, but donations will be accepted and all proceeds from McIver’s CD sales will go to the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta’s, Red Deer chapter, in memory of Andrew Nicholas Carter.

The Hunting Hills High School graduate died of undisclosed causes on Feb. 26 at age 26. Carter had been a friend of McIver’s children. “He was very quiet, but inquisitive. He had a unique way of looking at nature and the world, and he was artistic. He liked to draw,” recalled McIver.

As Carter had struggled with schizophrenia, McIver opted to do a benefit concert to raise public awareness of the mental health condition and the helpful role of the Schizophrenia Society. Proceeds will go towards programs and services.

The Society’s provincial program director, Wendy Bonertz, said she appreciates McIver’s support and believes it’s important to break through the stigma about schizophrenia, caused by “fear and a lack of understanding.”

One in 100 people will develop the mental health disorder, characterized by a failure to understand reality. Common symptoms include false beliefs, confused thinking, hearing “voices,” and reduced social engagement and emotional expression.

Bonertz noted the disorder that springs from genetic and environmental causes is 10 times more common than AIDS, sudden infant death syndrome and melanoma combined. With the right medical care and community supports, many people with schizophrenia can lead fulfilling lives, she added.

The Society runs two supportive living residences in Red Deer, offers employment and educational opportunities, peer support as well as family and caregiver support. For more information, please visit www.schizophrenia.ab.ca.

McIver, a Red Deer Public School Division employee, put out the 2017 album The Older the Bull, the Harder the Horn, his third CD.

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