By the time I was 22, within a 5 month period, 3 people that I knew of committed suicide.
The first was Nora Miller. Nora was my high school hurdling partner, and friend. To me, she was perfect. Nora was popular, talented and above all else kind. But few were of aware of how dark her struggles were. Nora's death terrified me: "If perfect Nora couldn't make it in this world, how could I?"
Two months after Nora's death, I was shaken to the core by an early morning phone call I received from my mom. I had been at swim practice that morning when I came home to various missed calls and frantic voicemails. It was 8:30 am. When I finally got a hold of my mother she broke down in tears. "Luke killed himself" was all I could decipher. Luke was my 28 year old cousin, a husband to 27 year old Monika and a father to a 6 year old Alex and a 3 year old Nadia. My family was broken. The next few days were a blur of home visits, tears and arrangements. The most difficult part was looking at Luke's children Alex and Nadia and realizing that they would never know their father.
Still grieving from Luke's death my college campus was turned upside down when a fellow underclassmen and close friend of my teammates, Julia, also took her life on a cold January morning. Now it was my turn to help my friends and teammates grieve through a tragedy that I was all too familiar with.
Three years have passed now since that surreal 5 month period and my life is irrevocably changed from these experiences. I worry more about those around me and have learned to empathize more with others. I thoroughly believe that lives could be saved if only there was a willing person to offer their help and support regardless of the time of day.
The Samaritans of New York is an organization that offers troubled individuals a person that is willing to listen. This organization is the oldest and largest suicide prevention, crisis response network in the world and the only community-based prevention program in the NYC area. The 24 hour 365 day a year hotline offers callers complete confidentially during their calls. Samaritans asks us to help respond to New Yorkers in their moment of need. $18,000 is what it costs to be able to answer the phone for those who want someone to listen.
Please help Samaritans pay New York’s Most Important Phone Bill and save the lives of desperate friends, cousins and classmates like Nora, Luke and Julia. Their families and friends will appreciate it.