A fundraising project by Jay Johnson

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I met Ciera at 11 years old when we first started high school. I remember thinking at this age she was kind of odd but funny and unbelievably intelligent. We grew closer over the following year when I started to question my sexuality and didn’t feel comfortable in a group of all boys. We formed a strong group of friends, we always thought of ourselves as the outsiders. We were a smart group, with artsy types and high achievers. Ciera encompassed everything that made our group special; she had brains, she could play multiple instruments, she could sing, she was interested in literature, film, videogames, science and was just a generally the loveliest human being.

But Ciera – like so many – had mental health problems. I’m not exactly sure when they started, but I don’t remember a time when she wasn’t on some sort of anti-depressant. She also self-harmed throughout school. She had ups and downs but sadly in the summer of last year Ciera was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Harrogate and it was here she entered a war with herself, a war she wouldn’t overcome.

On November 17th 2016 I received the news that Ciera had taken her own life.

So here we are almost exactly a year since we lost my dear friend and The Pit Comedy Club will return on Thursday 23rd November. Though it’s still a night with free entry for new comedians and established acts trying new material; I will be trying to raise funds for the charity Harmless, the charity picked by Ciera’s family on her funeral. I think there’s something quite poetic about raising money for a charity dedicated to helping those that self-harm with fun and laughter. I wish Ciera could be here to laugh obnoxiously along with us, she wasn’t one for being the centre of attention but I think she would be happy that her tragic passing might go towards helping others going through what she went through. I hope people in Leeds will absolutely pack out The Pit on the 23rd November, so we can raise loads of money.