Today marks four years since your passing. Today also marks my third Out of the Darkness Walk supporting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. With your support, we’ve been able to raise $8,250 from 130 donors over 3 events. Lucas, you should know, your story is saving lives, creating space for conversations that would have been impossible before, and breaking down barriers. You are changing the lives of people you will never meet for the better.
Despite all of this success little brother, I am beginning to notice something that I am unprepared to handle. Raising money, finding space to speak/advocate, and opportunities to shine a light on the cause is becoming harder and harder. The reasons for this are multifaceted. Asking for money on social media has become a crowded space. Emails end up in junk folders that no one checks. Other issues seem to be front and center. These are challenges every fundraiser faces. As someone who raises money for a living, I can tell you these are issues I try to tackle every single day. As your brother and someone who is trying to make a difference, these challenges hurt.
I hope people aren’t forgetting your name. While we can’t deeply grieve forever, I hope the pain we felt, the same pain that motivated us toward action, isn’t being lost. I want saving lives from suicide to matter forever or as long as it takes to get to zero. Losing you left an indelible mark on me. I have said it before and I will say it again. I am dedicated to this cause for the rest of my life. I will walk a thousand miles and then walk a thousand more. I will raise a million dollars and then raise a million more. I will do whatever is required of me to save a family from the pain of going through something as tragic as losing someone to suicide. I need this to matter as much as any other cause. I need this.
As the light begins to fade, I hope this letter will serve as notice of how far we have to go:
· Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US
· 44,965 Americans die by suicide every year
· For every suicide, 25 people attempt
· Suicide costs the US $69 billion annually
· There 123 suicides per day in the US
· Men die by suicide 3.53X more often than women
These stats from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention aren’t just stats to me. These are people; human potential lost because we don’t have the resources in place to decrease stigma, increase mental health counseling, provide ideation training, etc. These are men, women, and children we will never get back. That matters to me. That is personal to me. So, when others say we should move on, I refuse. When others say find another cause, I refuse. When the work of asking seems too daunting and quitting feels like an option, I refuse. When the world says there are more pressing issues, I refuse. This matters too much to be forgotten.
Be good to each other,
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