The Out of the Darkness Community Walk is this Saturday starting at the State Capitol in Sacramento. Funds benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for suicide prevention research, local education and prevention programs, as well as survivor of suicide loss programs. For more info or to donate go to www.afsp.org
It would have been easy for Brooke McCracken to have just drowned in her sorrow.
Her best friend since kindergarten, Trisha Kalin, had become a suicide statistic on the Union Pacific rails that run through the heart of Manteca.
Now after her best friend’s untimely passing, McCracken is working to help take one of the most taboo and seldom talked about subjects – suicide – “out of the darkness”.
On Saturday, McCracken will be leading a team of nearly 100 people on a walk to the State Capital to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The march raises money for a multitude of programs ranging from hotlines for people in crisis to support groups for families and friends left behind.
It was through some of their efforts that McCracken realized she had to do something other than letting her sadness consume her.
“I just had to feel like I was doing something active,” she said. “I had that sadness that wouldn’t go away. She was my best friend – we were each other’s Godparents.
“When I found out the statistics, and I realized how prevalent it really was, I thought that getting involved would make me feel like I was doing something. Maybe it will make a difference in somebody’s life.”
For as long as she can remember she and Kalin were inseparable. Lifelong best friends, they both graduated from Manteca High School in 1997 and both chose to go into the nursing field.
The thing she remembers most about Kalin is her outgoing personality and her amazing sense of humor. She was always able to turn a normal situation into a hilarious one and make everyone around her laugh.
“We had tons of fun together. She was the most honest person, and she was so funny – she was always laughing and always making us laugh,” McCracken said. “All that we did was laugh together. Besides that she was a great mother. She was a great mom.
“She loved being a mother more than anything else she’d ever done.”
Kalin left behind three small boys.
The team that will take to the streets of Sacramento on Saturday, Oct. 29, has already raised nearly $5,000 for the cause and has 74 people signed up. As the top fundraiser, they will carry the banner at the front of the march.
Knowing that she’s making a difference, and that her team is helping raise both funding and awareness about something that claims 34,000 American lives every year, is something that McCracken says she’s proud of.
“There are signs and things that I didn’t see that I wish I had,” McCracken said. “This organization helps make that information available to people, and that could help save lives. They go out onto college campuses, have survivor support groups, and help fund programs.
“It’s a valuable resource.”
Those wishing to pledge money can do so by visiting www.outofthedarkness.org, clicking on the donation tab, and searching for either Brooke McCracken or Team Trisha.