Carlena, better known as Lena or 'Lena Beana', has the most infectious and genuine giggle. If you've heard it, you'll never forget it.
She played basketball and futsal, but enjoyed dancing in her cosplay outfits far more. Lena was a few months short from receiving her junior black belt in Tang Soo Do, which she helped teach with her instructor/our Dad. Beyond athletics, Lena also was the secretary of her eighth grade class (yes, I'm still bragging about this). She loved anime, eating mochi, all things kawaii and using the poop emoji.
Although it has been two years since Lena's untimely death, our family is and will continue to be very much affected from her passing. Beyond us, our local community also felt a huge loss. Because Lena had a love for animals like no other, donations totaling over $3,000 were raised in her name for the Faxon Animal Hospital, located in Fall River, Massachusetts. We're still in awe & incredibly thankful for the initatives Victoria St. Louis, Danielle Machado and the rest of Holy Name's Class of 2009 started in assuring Lena's legacy is more than how she left us.
Now it's my turn.
On Saturday, September 29, I will be participating in the 6th Annual 'Be a Friend' 5K Walkathon to support the Samaritans Suicide Prevention Center.
If you're not familiar, the Samaritans offer a "Safe Place" for those who have lost someone to suicide. It operates in the same way a group counseling session would &, get this... it's FREE. Safe Place Meetings are moderated by highly trained volunteers and are well attended. More information can be found at: http://samaritansnyc.org/attend-a-meeting/. I am grateful to have attended a many Safe Place Meetings and I have truly reaped the benefits. It was transformative to be amongst people who understood & were open about their struggles in being a survivor of suicide.
As if these services weren't enough, the Samaritans Suicide Prevention Center also runs a 24-hour crisis hotline , which has responded to 1.3 million calls & counting. That number is: 212-673-3000. Volunteers are available to those who are feeling suicidal and also those who simply need a friend if they are grieving.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. Although we are finally having conversations about this CC: Thirteen Reasons Why, Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, Logan Paul's insensitivity, etc., how many of us are working to advocate our time & money towards changing this unfortunate statistic?
Please support my efforts -- and those of Samaritans - over 100 caring volunteers and friends-- to help Samaritans meet the increasing need in NYC for suicide prevention and crisis response services. It is a wonderful organization doing life-saving work.
(Aside from supporting resources that are QUITE LITERALLY saving lives, another incentive is that every donation is 100% tax-deductible).
Thank you in advance for your support. I encourage everyone to join me on September 29th to participate in the Walkathon. I'm walking for Lena, all those stigmatized in regard to mental illness & to simply be a friend to anyone in need.
P.S. don't forget be a friend to yourself! And also, on a separate note, Lena always said, "keep your friends close & your enemies out of the picture". Ain't that the T!
- Chanda Pen Sar