CBS4 News is featuring a special series of reports this holiday season called the 12 Days of Christmas. The following story is written by CBS4’s Karen Leigh.
DENVER (CBS4) – Every week we lose a Colorado teenager to suicide.
Too many of our young people feel hopeless. Like they have no one to talk to.
But the truth is, there’s help just for them. It comes by way of a nonprofit called Second Wind.
“When I was a sophomore in high school one of my very good friends we lost to suicide. One thing that is really difficult for me is the day that we found out she had committed suicide, I still remember seeing her in the hallway and having a conversation with her,” said Gage Crisp, a University of Denver student.
Four students in a Jefferson County High School took their lives in a nine month period back in 2001-2002.
“One of those was my son, my youngest son, John,” J.C. Cox told CBS4.
Cox remembers his son for his laugh and smile and says “He had pretty kind heart.”
Cox a father; Gage Crisp a friend. Both of them were tragically touched when they lost a loved one to teenage suicide.
“It just tore everybody up. The whole community. I just felt like I had to do something. I need to be involved in something so that another family (member) doesn’t go through this,” Cox said.
After losing his son, John, Cox became a founding board member of Second Wind.
It honors those torn apart by teen suicide. It honors those still living and those who left us too soon.
The organization raises most of its money through a run/walk every year. Money raised pays for professional help for young people struggling to find light in their darkness.
“We decided to pay for counseling for kids at his school and that was the start of it,” Cox said. “Then another school called and another school called and we kept raising more money.”
What started in schools in Jefferson County has now spread to Denver schools and is now offered to schools statewide.
So far, 4,000 teenagers have taken advantage of outside therapy.
Second Wind says this shows how great the need is.
“High school is a very difficult period. It’s inherently difficult because you don’t know who you are yet. People struggle with suicide people struggle with depression every single day and suicidal thoughts and tendencies. But really being able to come together and say this is okay, let’s talk about it, let’s figure out how we can get help and get them through this difficult situation,” Crisp said.
Crisp says suicide is a topic that is often swept under the rug.
“People don’t want to have the conversation because it is difficult to talk about. People want to talk about the sunshine and the flowers … the happy things in life. When it comes down to it, life isn’t always happy,” he said.
But there is hope and help. It can get better. That’s what Second Wind is all about.
“This is why I do this with Second Wind — I don’t want other people to go through this,” Cox said. “There is a hole in my heart forever.”
To donate or to learn more about Second Wind go to thesecondwindfund.org.
Note from Karen Leigh:
Every year, I get the opportunity to learn more about remarkable organizations in our community by helping them fundraise. Several years ago, Second Wind asked if I would emcee their annual walk/run. I’ve done it for 3 years now. It was eye opening to learn there was such a great need and a real pleasure to work with the people involved. They care about our young people … and they’re making a difference in their lives.