My name is Peter Connelly I own and operate an alpaca shearing service and retail store in Livingston, Montana called Shorn. We sell Alpaca, Bison, and Merino wool products.
Every November I travel to Australia to shear one of the biggest alpaca herds in the world. It is a massive undertaking and the journey is exhausting physically and mentally. It is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life so far.
This November 23rd I am coordinating and shearing in Shear for Light in Australia. Nigel Wood, shearer and friend, and I are shearing alpacas for 24 hours in order to raise awareness and funds for Mental Health and community development. We are headed into new territory physically and mentally as a 24 hour shearing event has never been attempted with alpacas. Nigel is from New Zealand so his organization is a group advocating more access to mental health care for farmers and other rural citizens of New Zealand and Australia (www.rural-support.org.nz.) Farmers and Livestock growers in Australia and New Zealand have a much higher risk of suicide especially now because of an extreme drought affecting Australia and New Zealand.
Nigel told me about the 24 hour shearing event in November 2018 and I was all in. What a great opportunity for a challenge and we get to raise money for charity too. Perfect. It seemed like a great opportunity to help.
After I got home the challenge became a light for me and my children as we lost their mother and my wife to suicide in January 2019, and I was left to rebuild with our two daughters ages 9 and 16.
Our community rallied and friends from all over the country came to Livingston to help support our broken hearts and we began a new journey. Suicide is the most horrible thing for everyone involved as the person that dies has lost all hope and faith and light and those of us left are struggle to grasp with such hopelessness and loss.
In order to get through such a storm we need a community, we need love and light. It is only when the light is obscured by hopelessness that those lost in the sea reach into the void and leave us forever. My mission is to keep the light on no matter the storm because all storms pass.
As I struggled to regain any balance I needed a goal, something to strive for, a future for me and my daughters. My friends from Australia reached out and asked if I was still keen to do the 24 hour event. I said yes of course, now more than ever. They asked me if I had a name... Shear for Light.
I have a future. To work and help the future. Shear for light.
For more info please visit www.shearforlight.com. I am going to attach a blog to the website so people can get updates and whatnot. We are working on getting sponsors and donors. People will be able to donate a set fund or a certain amount per animal shorn.
Lets make this event a beautiful tribute to the past and the future.