We will be joining with thousands of people nationwide this fall to walk in AFSP's Chicagoland Out of the Darkness Community Walk to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This will be the sixth year we have participated in the Chicagoland Walk as part of Cait's Rainbow Warriors and each year we have fielded a team of more than 70 walkers in a great cause. We know there are many worthwhile causes to support these days but this one is close to our hearts for obvious reasons.
This year is the fifth anniversary of the loss of our dear Caity at 23 years of age, following her battle with bipolar disorder. We walk for a number of reasons including to remember and honor the person that Caity was and to increase awareness and understanding of the crisis of mental illness.
Anyone who knew Caitlin experienced her joyful and exuberant personality. Race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political persuasion - none of it mattered to Caity. She loved everyone and all those she came into contact with knew it. As with many who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Caity was a creative, outgoing soul, gifted in art, theater and dance. Her first passion, however, was the intense, personal, non judgmental relationships she shared with so many.
While we do not have all, or even most of the answers regarding the mysteries of mental illness, we do know some things. We know we need to understand mental illness for what it is, a disease just like any physical disorder of the body that needs to be identified, diagnosed and treated with the same non-judgmental attitude and approach. We can do that by working hard to remove the stigma still associated with mental health treatment and by making it safe and easy for those in pain to ask for and receive help. That is certainly the goal for our family and is what we have dedicated ourselves to in honor of Caitlin’s memory.
We appreciate any support you give for this worthwhile cause but what we would like most is your registration indicating your support for suicide prevention and for the increased awareness of mental health issues.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults in the U.S. between 14 and 24 years of age. On average one person dies by suicide every six hours in Illinois. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is at the forefront of research, education and prevention initiatives designed to reduce loss of life from suicide. With more than 40,000 lives lost each year in the U.S. and over one million worldwide, the importance of AFSP's mission has never been greater, nor our work more urgent.
We hope you will consider registering and demonstrating your support of our participation in this event. Any contribution will help the work of AFSP, and all donations are 100% tax deductible.
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