the 25-25-25 fundraiser
*contains content related to suicide & suicide prevention
Since February of 2020, four people I personally know committed suicide.
I knew two of them as friends and two of them as brief colleagues, but each of them had a story.
It hurts the individual, family, friends, loved ones, the community, and the world.
On November 1, I turned 25 years old, and Friday, November 13 is World Kindness Day.
In recognition of this day, I am walking 25 miles in one day at the beginning of my 25th year, asking for $25 (or whatever you may be able to give) donations through this fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - where all the proceeds go to the nonprofit, not myself. The name 25-25-25 coincides with 25 miles - $25 donations (or whatever you can) - on my 25th year.
If you can, please consider donating to this cause. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide by promoting research, offering educational programs to professionals and the general public, advocating for policies and legislation that impact suicide and prevention, and providing support to those affected by suicide loss and at-risk individuals. In the midst of a global pandemic, contentious election, and rippling uncertainties, mental health has been thrust into the spotlight of public debate, policy, and action; the mission of AFSP is critical to both the mitigation of suicide and the advocacy of suicide prevention and intervention. If you can't support this fundraiser financially, please consider visiting their website and reading a story, exploring the Making A Difference pages, or inquiring about a local chapter as a means of supporting this cause.
As of 2018, suicide was the second most common cause of death in 15-34 year olds and fourth most common in 35-54 year olds (NIMH, 2020). These individuals are more than a statistic. Individuals who commit suicide aren’t solely of one recognizable identity; often, these individuals experience family, loved ones, jobs, book clubs, adventures, dreams, hopes, disappointments, heartbreak, moral struggles, happiness, moments of fulfillment, and more - they’re human, just like you and me. The stories they leave behind can be as complex as the stories of individuals who continue on.
By walking 25 miles and reflecting upon my own experiences (taking one picture every mile to capture the trek), I hope that this fundraiser brings some awareness to a growing problem in both our individual and collective lives. The weariness of the pandemic may exacerbate existing problems, and, I believe, it is our moral responsibility to show up, however imperfect, when the problem asserts itself in our lives. I am not naive to knowing that suicide is an unending problem; it affects countless populations of people regardless of age, race, socioeconomic status, sexuality, occupation, background, and beyond. However, whether it’s to help and support our loved ones in times of distress in any possible way, to reach out to that someone you feel you should check in with, to be kind, empathetic, gentle, aware, and/or present with whoever stands in front of you, to create a safe space to talk, to think mindfully and humbly, to act thoughtfully, or to strive to bring peace, love, and good vibes to your own world and the world around you, the little - or big - acts of kindness may go a long way in your own - or another person’s - life.
With that said, I wish to extend my deepest gratitude to those of you in my life that have given me - both directly and indirectly - courage, care, hope, healing, and humility in the face of daunting adversities. Like many, the past several months - even extending into last year - have been difficult to navigate ways of creating meaningful expression and finding some consistency and stability in my own voice. My hope with the fundraiser is that it acts as a small step in honoring those four individuals and the ones who extend from them in a form that respects and fulfills the legacy of their stories; it’s not perfect, and it’s not finished, but it’s a start.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sending peace, love, and good vibes to you.
In the event of an emergency, please call 911.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
or text TALK to 741-741
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Hotline: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
NAMI Local Chapter - NAMI Lehigh Valley: www.nami-lv.org
Suicide Prevention Resource Center: www.sprc.org/states/pennsylvania
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Dating Abuse Helpline
National Child Abuse Hotline/Childhelp
National Sexual Assault Hotline
National Center for Victims of Crime
National Human Trafficking Resource Center/Polaris Project
Call: 1-888-373-7888 | Text: HELP to BeFree (233733)
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
www.nrcdv.org and www.vawnet.org
Futures Without Violence: The National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence
National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health
1-312-726-7020 ext. 2011