Monday, October 25, 2010

Team Sunshine

team sunshine ipanemic alec branch
Yesterday, I participated in the "Out of the Darkness" walk with Ipanemic and friends. As Team Sunshine, we came together in honor of Ipanemic's son, a beautiful, intelligent and talented 18 year-old who took his own life earlier this year. I met this young man and hung out with him a couple of times when visiting Ipanemic; the thought of his suicide is just as shocking today as it was when I first heard about it.

Just before the walk, we heard a speech about suicide statistics. It was chilling: there are more suicides than homicides in this country; 35,000 people take their own lives every year; it's the second leading cause of death among college-age students; and every 15 minutes, someone in America dies by suicide.

I'm guessing there were about two hundred or more people at this event. Everyone there was either affected by suicide directly or knew someone who was, which was sad. But all was not in vain. As one of the speakers said (I paraphrase): it's important to destigmatize the issue of suicide. Talking about depression, anxiety and other conditions that lead to suicide should no longer be taboo.

I'm very proud of my friend Ipanemic. He could've chosen to disconnect from the world and let his own life fall apart, but instead he's choosing to do good works.

Ipanemic called it a Bright, Bright Sunshiney Day and it certainly was as we walked the 5K route around the University of Miami's beautiful Coral Gables campus.

It's not too late to make a donation over at Team Sunshine on the donor page website. You can learn more about the issue and find resources at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's website.

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