When seemingly happy, travel-infatuated CJ Twomey ended his own life at age 20, his family was plunged into unrelenting grief and guilt.
In a moment of desperate inspiration, his mother, Hallie, put out an open call on Facebook, looking only for a handful of travellers who might help fulfill her son’s wish to see the world by scattering some of his ashes in a place of beauty or special meaning.
Twenty-one thousand strangers liked the Facebook page, and one thousand volunteers have since taken CJ to over one hundred countries, including Kelly Vella from Sydney.
While crisscrossing the globe, his ashes and his family’s story have given rise to a social media phenomenon — a worldwide community — that has congregated in solidarity and empathy in dealing with a still heavily stigmatized and misunderstood form of mental illness.
Aggregating hundreds of clips and intimate interviews chronicling personal ash-scattering pilgrimages worldwide, Hallie’s story shows how social media and the internet can act as connectors and vehicles for empathy, while showing that while tragic suicides like CJ’s aren’t reliably predictable, in some cases they may still be preventable.
Adrian Chia, Head of Content at iwonder, says: “As tragic and heartbreaking as the Twomey families story is, Scattering CJ also serves as a powerful beacon of hope and inspiration; not just for the thousands of other CJs who might still be saved from the spectre of suicide, but for anyone looking for proof that the human spirit of solidarity and generosity is more than a match for the toxicity that dwells in the dark corners of the internet.”
Viewers new to iwonder can watch ‘Scattering CJ’ for free by signing up to the 14-day free trial period, while also gaining access to 1,000+ other acclaimed documentary films and series. Priced at $6.99 monthly or $69.90 annually, viewers can enjoy iwonder on their mobile phones via iOS and Android apps, browsers at www.iwonder.com, with Telstra TV, Amazon Prime Video Channels, Optus SubHub, Apple TV, Android TV, or through Google Chromecast or Apple’s Airplay.
Scattering CJ – 27 October, 2022 on iwonder
Media Release – iwonder