Roanoke, Va. (WFXR) — Suicide can affect anyone at any time. It was in July of 2020, when this became the reality for Louis Tudor, his family, and those that dearly love him. Louis, the long-time owner of Tudor’s Biscuit World, adored coach and mentor, took his own life due to declining mental health associated with COVID-19.
In the wake of this loss, the Tudor family and those close to them have vowed to use the tragedy experienced to shed light on mental illness, and in turn, bring new life to the former biscuit business by tuning it into Tudor House, a space for mental health support and suicide prevention.
While the newly formed Tudor House foundation has received support, the reality is that in order to build out the space and continue their efforts, funding is essential. Executive Director, Kathleen Thorell says they are hosting their very first fundraiser.
“We are hosting our first ever Tudor House Treasures. It’s really our first fundraiser that has been entirely done by us at Tudor House. We envisioned it, we brought it to life, and have seventeen artists that have donated to help us fundraise for our continued efforts, because as wonderful as all the fundraising that the area businesses have done for us so far since July, we really need to continue that effort.”Kathleen Thorell, Executive Director of Tudor House
Each donated art piece is unique and comes with special meaning. Contributing artist, Amy Milberger says hers is inspired by the human-animal bond.
“So for me, our pets bring a sense of peace in our lives and so the piece that I’m donating is a custom etching, dry point etching of someone’s pet. The reason I wanted to do that was because I have personally experienced the unconditional love of my pets, I’m a big animal lover, and also in my profession have seen the profound impact of the human animal bond. I wanted to support this effort by really celebrating that relationship.”Amy Milberger, Contributing Artist
Artist Dyke M. Wood is donating a piece called Sasha’s Beach House, inspired by a dear friend’s daughter who also took her own life.
“We were good friends and worked together for thirty years and we used to always do a beach weekend at the outer banks of North Carolina where me and him and several of our buddies would get together. I love the scenery of the Outer Banks, the beach houses. When I came back I painted a picture of it and I never had any idea where it would hang.”Dyke M. Wood, Contributing Artist
Dyke standing in the empty former Tudor Biscuit World building explains a profound correlation.
“It’s kind of ironic that we’re in this empty building having battled some of my own demons in life… this is exactly what you feel like. You’re so alone, you’re in the dark, you feel as though nobody is going through this but but yourself. It’s like you’re on an island, and bringing this shell of a building to life is what happens when you seek help, because none of us could walk through this alone… from what you see now from what it’s going to be once it’s open, the lights, the help, it’s like coming out of the dark into the light.”Dyke M. Wood, Contributing Artist
Dyke perfectly explains what Tudor House hopes to provide. A safe space where people in the valley can go to get support for grief and loss. A place where suicide doesn’t feel like the only option to escape the immense feelings of darkness and where people don’t have to be ashamed for what they’re going through.
To make that space come to life requires community support and by participating in the upcoming Tudor House Treasures auction, you can help them inch closer to making their mission a reality.