It was a celebration of life – and lives that were cut short – that brought about 100 ‘survivors’ together at the Foundation for a Better Tomorrow‘s Beef and Beer fundraiser on January 28th in Newark. At the Foundation for a Better Tomorrow, their message is that “Life always gives you a second chance…It’s called tomorrow!”
Many at the fundraiser had personally lost a loved one – a brother, a father, a daughter – to suicide. And while memories were painful, there were many moments of joy when guests hugged each other and seemed proud to keep alive the recollections of those they lost. Angela Gilbert lost her father to suicide in 2007, but when she spoke at the fundraiser, she said is deeply important to her to talk about her father and remember the incredible man and parent he was.
“When you lose someone to suicide, it’s really different than losing someone to drugs or an accident,” said Foundation for a Better Tomorrow co-founder Cindi McLaughlin. McLaughlin said teens are particularly susceptible to suicide, and that in some Delaware towns the rise in suicide seems epidemic.
So FFBT will pilot two new programs this year: Their outreach initiative will expand FFBT’s youth leadership capability, giving teenagers the skills they need to identify signs of suicide and know how to go to someone to talk about it.
The second initiative FFBT will undertake this year involves starting a peer support group to provide quick response to someone who doesn’t know what to do when they survive the loss of a suicide.
Christy Gordon co-founded Foundation for a Better Tomorrow was busy all night at the beef and beer fundraiser, putting the finishing touches on auction items and managing logistics. “We have had a lot of support from friends, family and the community. The strength of our mission just seems to grow and grow,” she said.
Nationwide and in Delaware, suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth age 10 – 24. Gordon offered, “When we started the foundation in 2014, we started with three therapists and one survivor. Right now, in 2017, unfortunately our organization now has three survivors and one therapist on staff. So there definitely is a real need in the community for what we do and what we offer.”
For suicide prevention support, visit Foundation for a Better Tomorrow here: http://ffabettertomorrow.org.