MODESTO — One mothers drive to save others her pain brought more than 800 walkers to Modestos Graceada Park on Saturday to share their sorrow, their stories and their hopes for better days and longer lives for others.
Alice Quayle, whose son Justin Broadrow committed suicide four years ago at age 29, said she founded the walk several years ago to raise awareness of suicide and help prevent others. It just keeps growing every year, she said. This year, 862 participants signed up, raising $40,117 for suicide prevention efforts, organizers said after the event.
Broadrow was an Enochs High School math teacher. Several of his students, now with families of their own, were among those wearing bright yellow T-shirts with Team Broadrow on the front.
Quayle said her son suffered from depression, but like so many others she never thought he would kill himself. I was kind of ignorant. I thought if you were depressed, you took a pill and it went away, she said. I dont think anyone thinks it could lead to that. Its a sort of denial.
There were no signs of depression in her teen daughter when she hanged herself, Gina Meadows said. We need to raise money. We need to do so much more research, she said, her voice breaking as a friend stood by her on stage.
Shantell Brightman knew her dad suffered from guilt about his alcoholism and lost his job in the economic downturn before he killed himself almost a year ago. I never thought this could happen, Brightman said as she shared her story with hundreds of assembled walkers Saturday morning.
Our hope is that our stories can make a difference in other peoples lives, she said. Where theres life, theres hope.
Pastor Vince Deagler ended the send-off presentation, praying for Gods help in stopping suicides. He does some of his best work in the darkest moments of our lives, Deagler said.