Celebrating My Brother

Samaritans 5K

5K Team Captain, Lauren Gablinske, has organized Derek’s Team in memory of her brother, Derek, who took his life on November 28, 2011.

I’ll never forget sitting at my kitchen table on Thanksgiving day two years ago.  I found myself reflecting upon how fortunate I was to have a happy healthy family to celebrate the holiday with. I remember thinking how lucky I was to not have suffered a significant loss of someone near and dear to me.  Little did I know that four days later, at the age of 29, my brother would take his own life. Since then, I have known others within my extended family and friends to also take their lives.

My brother Derek was someone you couldn’t be around for more than five minutes without crying from laughing so hard. He was the person you turned to when you were having a bad day to make you feel better. He was the one all my friends had crushes on growing up. He had the brains, loyalty, humor, and good looks to accomplish anything he wanted in life. He had everything to live for.

Looking back now, I can see what may have been warning signs leading up to his death. This is what brought me to the Samaritans. The Samaritans, to me, represents the hope that someday no family will have to go through what we have been through. It represents a place filled with people that are dedicated to helping others see through the darkness and fight through the pain.

This will be the first year I run the 5K. 

My goal in participating in this 5K is to raise awareness for something I feel needs to be brought to light. As I navigate through the healing process it’s important for me to find ways to help others who may be feeling what Derek felt. It is to let them know they are not alone, there are people who understand how they feel, and there are people who want to help. With this first 5K, my hope is that I am able to do my part to raise awareness of suicide and mental illness while at the same time celebrating the amazing person my brother was. I hope this is the first of many 5Ks I participate in with the Samaritans.

It’s not too late to sign up for the Samaritans 5K Run/Walk. Please visit www.samaritans5K.org.