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John Erickson's Fundraiser:

Flippin' Sweet Suicide Prevention

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John Erickson


November 2011, the phone rings early in the morning and it's Tom's grandma wanting to know if Tom stayed the night. " No, he isn't here." Twitter and Facebook are humming with questions on who has seen Tom. The tight community is already searching for Tom. Hours pass when the word comes as fast, if not faster that Tom's body has been found. Shock and disbelief that he's really gone follows for hours, days, even longer. Nine months later, I get a call from a good friend asking me where my son is? Why I ask? He is on scene of an apparent suicide and it looks like my son's best friend. "No, I reply, it cannot be we have already lived this nightmare with Tom!" My friend says, "John go get your son. It's happen again." Grant was pronounced dead at the scene. My son's two best friends had taken their lives within nine months apart. As I type this I still cannot believe it is true. The three boys had been best friends since first grade, lived in the same neighborhood in what many would consider a middle class average-apple pie, American neighborhood. The kind of community that people sit around and say, "that doesn't happen in our community." Well, it did. My son doesn't have one picture of a birthday party, baseball game, basketball game, kindergarten graduation, school party or any other childhood life event that both of these boys were not in the picture with him. Grant lived next door to us and was truly family. We went on vacation, Grant went too. We grilled steaks, Grant ate one too. We hung Christmas stockings, Grant got one too. My daughter just thought she had two brothers. My wife, treated Grant as he was her own. I coached baseball and Grant was shortstop, Tom as 2nd Base, and my son was 1st base. When they played basketball they were the three guards. Larry, Moe, and Curly had nothing on these three kids. Now, there is just Larry. There are too many suicides, I now know five personally. I am not able to work due to health issues so I dedicate much of my time to suicide prevention. I have met some incredible people who have taken their loss and now are champions, no angels of the suicide prevention fight. No parent should ever have to bury their child. That is what I would use my "one wish" on if I was given one wish. If what we are doing can save one it is all worth it. I can also tell you that there is a silent tragedy that occurs in everyone of these suicides and that is the ripple of sorrow and pain that never ends. Especially the young people that are so deeply touched with such a deep wound. Today, we honor the boys by having the Flippin Sweet Memorial Disc Golf Tournament. This is our third year. We have raised over $6500 the past two years. The funds have gone to suicide prevention efforts right here in our community. This year we have joined ranks with the Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition in Johnson County, Kansas a small unit of the Johnson County Mental Health Department. They offer a program called ASIST to teachers, counselors, law enforcement and others that come into contact with potential suicidal people. Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is a two-day intensive, interactive and practice-dominated course designed to help caregivers recognize and review risk, and intervene to prevent the immediate risk of suicide. It is by far the most widely used, acclaimed and researched suicide intervention training workshop in the world. With the funding we raise through the disc golf tournament we can offer scholarships of $100 each to the ASIST Training which would cover the expense of the training permitting one of the needed professionals to get the training having a direct impact on suicide prevention and awareness. We are asking for a minimum of $2000 to help us get our website running and some other needed start up cost. Anything over that would be used for scholarships. We are hoping to raised at least $6500.00 at this years Flippin' Sweet Memorial Disc Golf Tournament for Suicide Tournament.



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