On November 14, 2015, The Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) honored me(!) with the 2015 Humanitarian Award for my advocacy in promoting AFSP’s overall mission: to end the silence and reduce the stigma around mental illness and suicide.
When Garden Wellington (PR for the AFSP) approached me a few years back, asking me to get involved in the organization by photographing the Out of the Darkness Walk, I turned her down. I told her I was too busy. But the truth was that I didn’t want to face my past. She persisted, and a few months later asked me again, saying the organization could use a little HughE love on a subject, that at the time rarely was covered in the media. I told her I’d get back to her.
I realized I could help others by telling my story, when I struggled with the issue in my 20s. I then told my story on my blog and on social media. They tell me that with my help over the past three years they have double the number of people who come to their annual walk, held in October; this past year 5,000 walkers participated.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the leader in the fight against suicide. They fund research, offer educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support those affected by suicide. The 350 guests who attended enjoyed dinner, dancing and the most amazing silent auction from generous sponsors. Thanks to everyone who supported the event by attending, or making a donation. We’re saving lives.