14th Whitney's Run & Walk, preventing suicide

PEORIA, Ill - The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that after cancer and heart disease suicide accounts for more years of life lost than any other cause of death.

After losing his niece, Whitney to suicide 14 years ago, Danny Fishel with the help of family and friends, began commemorating her life and educating others in the process.

“We had no idea that she was showing any symptoms and when you come to the realization and get an education of what causes suicide the path of depression, you could see the warning signs, said Fishel. He adds, “We realized we need to get the education of the warning signs out to other people to avoid this tragedy in other families.”

More than a thousand people laced up their running shoes on Saturday for the annual Whitney’s 5k Run and Walk at Jubille College State Park, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to represent 46 teams. The mission to honor life and support programs for depression and suicide prevention.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and 3rd leading cause of death among those ages 15 to 24. Peoria county coroner Jamie Harwood says the event is one he wouldn’t miss and an opportunity to carry on messages of loved ones lost.

“ We need to keep getting the word out there that we do care about the families and the individuals lives who are lost through suicide,” Harwood said.

Fishel says there is no time table for grief, and encourages anyone dealing with suicidal thoughts to ask for help, “There are many support groups, the Hult Organization is wonderful.” Fishel adds for any one struggling to, “Reach out, and the love and support is there. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

Since 2004, Whitney's Walk has raised over $1.2 million for local suicide prevention programs.


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