TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The 5th annual walk and run at the Crestview Park was on September 9, 2017. Dozens are here to bring hope, prevention, awareness and education to Shawnee County Residents. Philip Cole was one of the many people in this crowd for the race. He was there after his best friend from college committed suicide while they were in school together.
“Matt was kind of the life of the party and was a funny guy,” Cole said. “It’s kind of one of those things that sometimes the people that have the biggest smiles on their faces are the ones that probably have the hardest times internally.”
The Shawnee County Suicide Prevention Coalition was one of the organizations hosting the event. They formed in the community after a number of youth suicides.
“Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the rate in Kansas is slightly higher than the United States as a whole,” event organizer, Elaine Adair said. “Youth suicide is also on the rise.”
The Coalition will use all the money raised to spread the word about suicide prevention throughout Shawnee County. It’s used towards training, community awareness events, printed literature and other efforts countywide.
“You don’t know what people are going through and it’s good to always try and reach out to people and make a connection,” Supporter, J.J. Matzek said. “Sometimes somebody just needs you to be nice to them and that can make the difference.”