Skip to content

Archive for

With Every Step: Bringing suicide, depression and mental illness ‘Out of the Darkness’

On June 28, a mere 4 weeks away, I’ll be walking with my Team Chenango teammates in the American Society for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Overnight. This marks the 4th year we’ve participated in this 18-mile dusk ‘til dawn walk to raise money and support AFSP’s suicide prevention and awareness efforts.

As we gear up for Philadelphia, where this year’s event will take place, my teammates and I are facing some challenges. The training miles aren’t adding up as fast as we need them to. Nor are we making enough progress toward our fundraising goal.

Typically we raise the vast majority of our goal with two events: a 5K in October and our annual golf tournament in May. But with less than a month to go, I’m sorry to say we’re still about $2,100 away from the absolute minimum our team needs to walk.

I lamented about this to my friend Danielle earlier this week. Danielle, who lost her father to suicide 13 years ago, is the reason I became involved with this cause several years ago. She’s our team captain and, in so many ways, the heart of Team Chenango.

Her response made me take a moment to reflect. Both on what we put into this walk every year, and why we do it. I thought I’d share.

Every year it comes down to the two big fundraisers that we put together and then the walk. And every year, it gets harder and harder. You know how it is. Life gets in the way sometimes. Every year, I wonder why I put myself through all of the aggravation. Then I stop to think about my dad.

Danielle's father, Dan Marshman

Danielle’s father, Dan Marshman

Put simply – he was and is my hero. I love him with all of my heart. And I know there are a lot of people in our community who felt a strong connection with him as well.

When I stop to think about what he must have felt in the few weeks and months leading up to his death, I just CANNOT imagine the pain he was in.

As I complain about how hard it is to put this together, I think about him and I realize that the purpose is to prevent others from EVER having to go through this again.

It has been 13 years since Dad died by suicide from a disease that can be prevented if we could just start talking about it! This walk is so well named, because we need to bring depression, mental illness and suicide “Out of the Darkness”.

Thank you, Danielle, for that reminder.

I started stepping up my training walks as of yesterday, because there is no way I’m going to let Danielle and the rest of our team down. This is too important of a cause.

But we’re going to need your help as well. Any amount you give will get us that much closer to our goal. That much closer to Philadelphia. That much closer to bringing depression, mental illness and suicide Out of the Darkness.

Thank you in advance for your support of this incredibly important cause.

To Donate:

Visit www.theovernight.org and search for Team Chenango. This will bring up a list of team members and how close they are to making their goal.

– or – 

Select a Team Chenango member and make a donation through their donor page:

Melissa Stagnaro

Danielle Marshman

Maggie Dorsey

David Emerson

Steven Dykeman  (Goal reached!)

Michelle Hamlett (Goal reached!)

Teresa Hollister (Goal reached!)

Brian Meade (Goal reached!)

– or – 

You can send your donation (checks made payable to Team Chenango) to P.O. Box 863, Oxford NY 13830.

On behalf of all of Team Chenango, THANK YOU.

 

Mumsy to the Rescue

Image

It was midnight by the time I finished packing. I had two hours before I needed to start getting ready for the airport. It was silly to even bother going to bed, but I had it in my head that I’d fare better in my travels if I could just get an hour and a half of sleep.

I blame Facebook for implanting this notion in my head. Because I’m sure that’s where I read that 90 minutes was the optimal length of time for a nap. (If I read it on Facebook, it must be true, right?)

With visions of missed flights dancing in my head, I set two alarms. I even checked them twice.

Ten minutes later – or so it seemed – the first alarm went off. I silenced it with a practiced hand and settled back against my nest of pillows. Closing my eyes, I prepared myself to make the most of the handful of minutes until the second alarm sounded.

Only it didn’t.

The next thing I knew, it was 2:40. Precariously close to the 3:15 departure time I had planned. Especially given the fact that I had to not only shower, but also undertake a minor luggage restructuring. (I was a little too close to the airline’s weight limit on at least one of my two bags, and I wanted a bit more breathing room.)

Lord knows what time I would have finally woken up if not for my savior: my mother. Or Mumsy as I’ve got most people calling her. (Much to her chagrin, I might add.)

I was so grateful that she came to my rescue that I’ll forgive her the fact that she was up at 2:30. And when she didn’t see me up and about, decided that rather than start her search in the most obvious of places (my bed!), she’d take a look in the garage first.

Really, Mumsy. The garage?

Before you think me an ungrateful wretch, please know that, once we were en route to the airport and my nerves had settled, we had a good laugh about this. And she knows she my undying gratitude for coming to my rescue. (I thanked her every 5 minutes in my frantic race to get out the door and then every 3 ½ minutes on the ride.)

It wasn’t the first time, of course. I couldn’t begin to document all the many occasions – and ways – in which this amazing woman has been there for me. I’d like to think it works both ways, but let’s be honest, we’ll never be “even.”

I owe her so much, for everything from bringing me into this world up to and including what is perhaps the biggest show of support of all.

No, I’m not talking about making sure I didn’t miss my flight. Or that she’s kept her ribbing to a minimum after having to pick up the pitching wedge I so carelessly left on the ninth green after our golf league a couple of weeks ago. (Typically it’s the other way around.)

It’s the fact that she understands my need to hit pause on my career path. She may not be completely in love with the idea, but I like to think she’s proud of me for making the rather gutsy decision to take some time to write. And she also understands, at least to a certain extent, my desire to do it in different surroundings.

Because by making sure I got to the airport in time to make my flight – bound once more for the Dominican Republic – she was making sure my dreams didn’t get derailed before I even got started.

Thank you, Mumsy. For always being there for me. For understanding me better than I sometimes understand myself. For always having my back. For always being up for a crazy adventure. For all you’ve taught me about life, unconditional love and the importance of making a difference in this world one moment and one person at a time.

Even if you do sometimes forget I’m not longer 15.

Yes, my father was and is my hero. But so are too. 

Love you, Mumsy.

 

Image

Pistol-packing Mumsy! See, I told you she always had my back…