Serenity Hospice CNA Jen Bemis knows the heartbreak of suicide all too well. Her father killed himself in 1988 and earlier this year Jen received the unimaginable news that her 23 year-old-niece had also killed herself. “Suicide has impacted my life not once, but twice,” said Bemis. “That is why the upcoming Out of the Darkness Walk to Fight Suicide is important to me.” According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which hosts the walk, more than 44,000 Americans die by suicide each year and it is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. In Illinois, one person dies by suicide every six hours.
The Out of the Darkness Sauk Valley Community Walk is September 15 at Lowell Park in Dixon beginning at 9:00 a.m. “I have started Team Marissa in memory of my niece and my goal is to raise $2,500,” said Bemis. Serenity Hospice, where Bemis works is supporting Bemis and others affected by suicide by becoming a sponsor of the event. “Unfortunately we have treated more and more people affected by suicide in our bereavement department,” said Cathy Warren Bereavement Coordinator at Serenity. “We do not limit our grief services to just those served by hospice. We open these services up free of charge to the community.” If you would like to help Team Marissa reach their goal, you may send tax deductible donations made out to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and in the subject line please write “Team Marissa.” You may mail the checks to Serenity Hospice at 1658 S. IL Rt. 2 Oregon, IL 61061. If you would like more information about the walk in September, please visit www.afsp.org/SaukValley
UPDATE: Jen had a great turnout for the walk with most walkers being her fellow Serenity employees! Jen raised more than $3000 for suicide prevention.