Every 40 seconds someone in the world dies by suicide. On December 19th, 2014 our family and the world lost a beautiful soul to suicide, Senior Airman, Andre J. Jackson, Jr. The truth of his death hit our family and those around him and left us all with one question, “WHY?” Andre was so much too many; son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, grandson, and friend to name a few. He cared for many people and was loved by even more. Andre’s smile, which he wore whenever you saw him, lite up every room he entered. Around him it was impossible to be down because he made you smile with his infectious grin and warm disposition. This fact alone made it all the more difficult to understand his death. The saying “The ones with the brightest smiles often hide the most pain!” rang loudly in all of our ears. Saying goodbye to Andre was the hardest thing many of us have had to do in our lives. All those who were blessed to know him have been forever changed by his loss and will continue to miss him deeply every day of their lives.
On April 25th through 26th our family will join thousands of other people on a 18-mile walk as part of the Out of the Darkness Overnight, an event that raises money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The goal of this journey, which will begin at dusk and finish at dawn, is to raise funds for suicide prevention, erase the stigma surrounding suicide and its causes, to encourage those suffering from mental illness to seek treatment, and to show support for the families and friends of the more than 38,000 Americans who die by suicide and the 20 million people that suffer from depression each year.
Please support our family, “Dre’s Dream Team” as we take this amazing journey! By participating in this event, we hope to raise awareness of the serious threat that mental illness can pose and the treatment options that can help people overcome it. Net proceeds benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, funding research, advocacy, survivor support, education, and awareness programs – both to prevent suicide and to assist those affected by suicide.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death among college students. That's why we are doing this. To do something bold about an issue that so few people talk about. Andre’s death left so many unanswered questions for the ones who loved him. As we know that many other families who have been impacted by suicide feel the same.
We hope that you'll share this incredible journey with us - by supporting us in our fundraising efforts. The money YOU donate is critical to preventing suicide and spreading awareness so that the number of families impacted by suicide decreases. If one person can be saved, our efforts to walk 18 miles and to raise money for this cause will be worthwhile. This walk will give our family an opportunity to create a community that is smart about mental health.
Let’s bring mental health and suicide Out Of the Darkness.
To those who have lost a loved one to suicide:
Never forget to love each day and each person like you never have before. Don't ever miss a moment to let someone know how much you care.
To those suffering from depression or mental illness and have had thoughts of suicide:
Never forget that you are not alone. Reach out, if only for a minute, and you will realize just how many people love you and will hold you up until you are strong enough to do it on your own.
If you or someone you know is in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, remember that help is available.
For more information about suicide such as risk factors and warning signs, visit afsp.org.
- Trevilia Hodge
- Theresa Cochran
- Sandra Edwards
- Sabina Nisic
- Derius Thomas