Thursday, January 14, 2016

Can't Stop

Part of my grief journey as Sara’s mom has to be to make a difference in people’s lives and in mine. Our children are worth the every tear and heart break. Sara was my life, we grew up together. She was more than my daughter. She was my best friend. She was the yin to my yang. She was what I had given heaven and earth to protect over the last 16 years from all the bad out in the world. She was the one person who has been there through anything and everything with me. We had our own stories together. We had our own jokes and inside funnies.  I never thought my role would change to telling her story of just 16 short years. I must find some good in this nightmare that I walk in every day. Sara did a great job of hiding that she was suicidal and depressed to her family.  She didn’t want to burden us with anything. She worried all the time about things. She was a perfectionist even though, no one expected perfection. Failure was supported in our house.
        Since they ruled her death a suicide, it has been my mission to change the world that she left us in. As some of you know, we have created  the Speak Up foundation; partnering with another family who lost a beloved son just a few months before we lost Sara. His name is Jason Arkin.  He loved video games and making people laugh. He also liked penguins when he was younger. He was a bright 20 year old college student who like Sara had the world at his fingertips. Sara and Jason were very similar. His parents want to flip mental illness on its side and bring awareness to the community in honor of Jason and Sara. While I think every parents dream is that their children decide what their message to the world will be, we are left suffering to figure it out. The Speak Up foundation was created to bring mental health education, awareness and prevention in suicides in our community and country. SPEAK UP stands for Suicide Prevention Education Awareness for Kids United As Partners. We chose “Partners” because we all have a responsibility to partner up and make a change in this world. 
        Speak Up Foundation website is still in the works.  The URL will be  however it’s still in progress. We are working with a few people who have agreed to donate their time in getting it up and running and looking for a few more volunteers. We are hoping to have it moving forward in the next few months however until then we have the community Facebook page for Speak Up which is  It’s a non-profit organization. If you think you could contribute in any way, please message me personally as we can always use the help.
             Since Sara’s passing we have been able to do a few things in her honor with the help of some pretty amazing contributions/donations. Sara had a love for animals especially penguins. Her entire room at my house is covered in penguins. We thought a way to remember and honor her would be to do something at the zoo in Kansas City and at the Tennessee Aquarium with penguins. She spent every summer in Tennessee with her uncle “Pony” (Tony) and aunt “Bookie’ (Brooke).  At the KC Zoo, on her behalf Cinderella the Gentoo penguin was adopted and we had a plague made in her honor that is placed on the Helzburg Penguin Tower outside the main penguin building. Both of these are here in KC to celebrate her life and honor our little girl. At the TN Aquarium, we were able to do a little more with the help of the fantastic team. We were able to help name a baby Gentoo penguin in her honor. Sara who went by “Bob” to her close friends got to become  “Bobber” the penguin. It was named after over 10,000 votes were placed.  We were able to do a penguin room for back stage tours for children and adults who want to have that once in a life time experience with penguins. There will be a bench with a wall mounted plague with the words “In loving memory Sara “Bob” Prideaux SPEAK UP” as it’s important for the message to be heard and seen. 
          Also, with the help and donation from the Arkin’s, we were able to partner up with Kevin Hines to bring a world known quest speaker to the Shawnee Mission School districts that has dealt with depression and attempting to take his own life multiple times. Countless teenagers reached out to Kevin and wanted to seek help for the struggles in their brain. I watched as they were empowered to tell someone that they too had suicidal ideations or they knew someone else who did. In just 5 short months, we have taken a few steps towards breaking the silence and ending the stigma associated with suicide and mental illness. We continue to raise funds so that our prevention efforts do not have to stop.  We are officially associated with a 501c3 because we are serious about making a difference through the Greater Kansas City Mental Health Collation. We want you to be serious as well. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause in death ages 10-24. The statistics are not getting better, they are getting worse...No one is exempt from suicide.

 What are you going to do to make a difference?
You can be a voice, you can share my blog, you can make a donation through


  • buy one of the many SPEAK items that we have available. Just remember that EVERY bit counts and every little bit helps. Every part of the donation goes towards prevention in the community. No donation is too small.   
    • We have awesome SPEAK UP super soft T-shirts sizes Small-3XL. Cost with shipping is $25
    • We have amazing SPEAK UP zip up hoodies sizes Small-3XL Cost with shipping is $35
    • We have wristbands that have a secret message on the inside encouraging to reach out when in doubt. Cost with shipping is $3 or 2 for $5
    • We have decals to put on your car. Cost with shipping is $15

Or you can simply just make a donation in honor of someone through one of the many links provided.  

The efforts cannot stop here!  We must continue to take steps towards making a difference. We must continue to have the conversation. You would be surprised by how many people suffer from the loss of a family member due to suicide. Until it happens to you, people live in this magically world of “it won’t happen to me” trust me when I think every mother who is like me thought this same thing at some point in their life. We wouldn’t wish this life on our worst enemy.  My dream is to be able to talk to parents, kids, and educators about mental health and suicide. I want to be a guest speaker at events around mental health and suicide. I want to join arms in this fight.  I will be the Martin Luther King of mental health. I have a dream where we are not judged by the brain lies in our head but lifted up and supported when the weight becomes too much to endure. I will not back down! I will continue to speak. I will continue to fight to stay present! I will hold steady when the brain lies take over and attack me over and over. 

Thank you for reading and thank you for sharing my blog. You never know when sharing something so simple can show someone else they are not alone. 

Special shout out to GOEX for the shirts and Nickerstickers for the decals. Both companies have been amazing at working with Speak Up.

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