*PG Team Featured Blogger – Brigid Borcik (Customer Service Representative)*
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is at the forefront of research, education and prevention initiatives designed to reduce loss of life from suicide. With more than 38,000 lives lost each year in the U.S. alone (one life every 13.7 minutes as of 2010 making this the tenth leading cause of death in the US) and over one million worldwide (one life every 40 seconds), the importance of AFSP’s mission has never been greater, nor our work more urgent. The stigma of suicide makes this a “taboo” subject though and makes it that much more difficult to raise awareness and much needed funds. Suicide IS a preventable issue however and should not be a “dirty” word. Suicide is a caused by serious mental illness and has also been shown to be genetic. More facts and figures can be found at http://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures
On November 19, 2007 I lost my only brother Emmett to suicide. He left behind a daughter, granddaughter, two sisters and a father. Needless to say this was a devastating loss to my family. At first I didn’t know where to turn or how to find help to cope with this loss until I found the local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Since the day I found them, I vowed that I would volunteer with them to keep his name alive as well as two cousins and the other four lives I have personally lost to suicide in my life. I refuse to be “quiet” about suicide or not talk about my brother, my cousins or my friends that I have lost, no matter how uncomfortable it may make someone feel. They deserve to be kept alive in our memories for it was the pain and desperation they felt that took their lives. They weren’t themselves when they took their lives and if they had been they wouldn’t have done it. Not a single day goes by that I don’t think of them so I will spend every single day fighting for them as well as myself with my own mental health issues and struggles for they go hand in hand.I started by becoming an advocate which involved me emailing my local and state government representatives regarding laws and bills that needed attention for those suffering from mental health issues. I volunteered every year for the Out of the Darkness Walk held at the State Capital grounds by raising money for education, research and prevention. I physically volunteered at the walks by doing anything I could and by doing so I have made many friends and contacts by doing this. There are so many people who have been touched by suicide – a disease that can be prevented. Since making these contacts I was subsequently asked to join the Board of the AFSP – Central Texas Chapter this year and I am currently in charge of social media for the group.
PrintGlobe was gracious, loving and supportive enough to back two of its employees who have lost their only brothers for the 2013 Out of the Darkness walk at the State Capital. When we approached Dan Steinborn the owner of the company, he immediately, without any hesitation, came up with a silver level sponsorship for the event and even volunteered his band Blazin’ Kane to play during the event. He also donated team shirts for us all to wear during the walk! We were overwhelmed with the support from him as well as the other employees of the company who stepped up financially and physically by being there to support us. A total of 12 employees became the PrintGlobe Trotters and have (so far) raised $2000. I am hoping they will continue to raise money through the end of the year because it every single penny counts through December 31.
Proudly Walking Out of the Darkness