I'm running and fundraising for Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) in memory of my best childhood friend, Mike Olsen. Mike and I were nearly inseparable for years in middle school and high school. We spent countless evenings and weekends skateboarding and getting into trouble with all kinds of authorities. Mike was a friend to me at a time in life when I was struggling and really needed someone like him. We drifted apart after high school but continued to meet up occasionally to skateboard or disc golf. A week after I last saw him, Mike lost his battle with depression on May 28, 2014.
At his funeral, I made a promise to Mike's mother Beth, who was like an extra mother to me for many years, that I would share openly about my own struggle with depression so others know they aren't alone and to help remove the stigma. I didn't know it at the time but Mike and I were going through the depths of depression at the same time. Things seemed hopeless at the time but I eventually got medical help and over time it improved. I desperately wish Mike could have found the same deliverance which is why I am raising money for SAVE - a nonprofit recommended to me by Beth.