In early January of 2016, our 16-year-old brother Casey tragically took his life. After a holiday season filled with laughter, joy, and the making of new memories with our tight-knit family, we realized that Casey had been hiding his darkest thoughts from the ones he loved the most. But unfortunately, we were not alone. In 2016, 44,965 people took their lives. That meant that 44,965 families were going through the same nightmare that we were forced to endure. Although we'll never know if informing those around Casey that he had depression and social anxiety would have prevented his suicide, all we can do now is find those who are struggling and prevent tragedy from striking again.
As the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention states, "Creating a culture open to talking about mental health and suicide prevention is critical." In 2017, we started an organization called Wik Brothers that used bow ties and apparel to spark conversations about mental health and suicide prevention. Although 20% of profits are donated to the AFSP, we soon realized that the most valuable asset of ours was the ability to take a different approach to getting people to talk comfortably about mental health and suicide prevention. We have witnessed countless conversations among our friend groups about mental health and why it is so important to share your stories about mental illnesses and suicide. The more people that open up about their experiences and their support for those struggling, the more people feel comfortable about opening up about their own personal struggles. We understand that suicide is not something that can be completely stopped overnight, but we know that we are taking small steps in the right direction with all of our efforts in order to make tomorrow a better today.
On May 26th, 2019, Wik Brothers will be taking part in the Buffalo Marathon. We will be running in memory of those we have lost to suicide, especially our brother Casey, and for all of those who are suffering from a mental illness or who have attempted suicide. On May 25th, the day before the marathon, there will be a 5K race starting at 8:30am and on May 26th there will also be a half-marathon starting at 6:30am along with the full marathon (all races will occur in Buffalo). We encourage all of those who physically can, to join one of the races (i.e. the 5K, the Half-Marathon, or the Full Marathon) or to attend and support all of those struggling. Our mission is to not only run the marathon, but to raise as much awareness for our mission and to mental illnesses as we can. Join our team today for a better tomorrow and know that your story isn't over yet...Cont;nue!