Giving is Healing

Son Gives Flowers

My workplace is heavily involved in charitable activities and encourages employees to volunteer and donate through the annual giving campaign. Each year employees are asked to share their story of giving. Here is what I wrote about why I give.

Over the years, I have given most of my donations to a cancer research agency – anything to help with finding a cure. I, as with so many others, have lost several loved ones due to some form of cancer, including my Dad to lung cancer in 2004. Although I have switched agencies a few times, I have settled on The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing located in Lewiston, Maine.

​Two years ago, my son Adam died by suicide in August of 2015. That changed my life forever. Until the day this happened, I had no idea he would even think of ending his own life. He was a happy 20-year-old with a bright future. He was an avid soccer player throughout high school and his first year of college. He always had a smile on his face that lit up a room.

Adam Soccer at the beach

Why didn’t I know? I was not aware of some signs that may have clued me in to what was really going on. The loss of my son has impacted me profoundly, and I will never be the same person – hopefully I have become a better person.

​Due to this life-changing event, my donation allocation has changed. I now give 50% of my donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). While the need for cancer research remains close to my heart, the loss of my son has left me feeling lost with so many unanswered questions. Suicide is a difficult topic to discuss – even for those of us who have experienced this type of loss.

As I talk more about Adam and about the circumstances surrounding his choice, I also learn so much about the experiences of others. AFSP provides resources that are critical for those in need of help when thinking about ending their own lives, and for those who are left to deal with the aftermath of such a loss.

This is what the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is all about and donating to this foundation means that I could be saving a life…and healing my heart a little at a time.

Written by: Colleen


Do you find joy in giving?  Have you had a chance to get involved, hoping to spread awareness, raise funds or just be there for someone in need?  Please comment here or visit the Getting Involved suicide support community and share your story of giving!

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