Stonehill College Rallies for Suicide Prevention in Memory of Student
October 12, 2012
by Amy Carboneau
Shocked. Awestruck. Incredible.
That's how Sue Cooney described the effort by the Stonehill College community, where 140 people have signed up to walk in a Suicide Prevention Walk in Boston this weekend in memory of her son.
Alongside them will be Cooney and her family in their "Team Jeff" T-shirts, walking for their son and brother, whom Cooney described as "a beautiful soul."
Cooney's son, Jeffrey, was a Stonehill freshman when he took his life on Dec. 7, 2011. His death rocked the Stonehill campus, and shook up students at Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School, where Cooney had graduated just six months earlier.
But there is hope, said his mom.
"It's just really incredible," said Cooney in a phone interview Thursday. "Out of such tragedy, so much good has come around."
Brendon Dempsey, a resident assistant in Jeff's dorm, helped organize this year's walk after saying how hard hit he was from the tragedy.
"His death came as a shock to all of us," Dempsey said in a press release issued by Stonehill Thursday. "(It) personally left me reeling over the last nine months."
As of Thursday, 140 Stonehill students and staff had signed up for the Out of Darkness Walk, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to benefit research and education programs to prevent suicide.
The walk leads participants on a 2.5-mile loop around the Charles River, and has raised $185,000 - $10,000 from the Stonehill community alone - according to the press release.
The students are motivated not just by Cooney's death, but "by the fact that suicide is preventable," Dempsey stated in the release. "Thirty-six thousand people take their lives each year; that is equivalent to a sold-out Fenway Park audience.
"It is time we bring this cause to light," he added, "and provide individuals suffering from depression a hope."
The Cooneys plan to meet with the Stonehill community Saturday morning for an on-campus prayer before boarding the buses to Boston.
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.