As with the loss of any loved one, the memories of the individual remain in the minds and hearts of those lives the deceased touched and who are left behind to remember.
The loss of a loved one because of suicide can be especially difficult to overcome.
Memory Lane Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an organization, created from such a loss, will host their second annual 5K Sept. 10, to help raise awareness and funds to offer hope and help to individuals living in Pettis County who are suffering from mental illness or suicidal thoughts.
“We organized Memory Lane in June of 2015 after a member of the community died from suicide,” Amanda Eisenbarth said. “At that time I was in a very dark place in my life and his death probably saved me because I needed a purpose in my life.
“That is where our non-profit foundation comes in,” she added. “We wanted to do something in Pettis County to keep the suicide rate from rising as it had been.”
The 5K and Facebook auction hosted in conjunction with the walk are the only fundraisers for the organization each year.
All of the funds raised from the 5K stay in Pettis County to help raise awareness of the help that is available.
“They money that we raise form the event is used to help Katy Trail Health center, Pathways, and Burrill with co-payments for patients who can’t afford treatments,” Eisenbarth said. “We also have free events throughout the year to make the community aware that there is help in Pettis County.
“We have had free events throughout the year to make the community more aware of the support that is here in our community,” she added. “In February we asked Mefford, Vaugniaux, and Associates to lead our weekly support groups which they agreed to do.”
Memory Lane also hosted meetings on Monday nights for adolescents and teens with mental illnesses and meetings on the first and third Saturdays of the month for family members who have lost a loved one from suicide or for parents with children who have a mental illness.
“I am very passionate about this foundation,” Eisenbarth said. “I have personally dealt with depression most of my life and I still do and I understand what it is like to be at the point where you feel there is nothing else that can help and you think everyone would be better off without you, but that is so not true.
“I am a three time suicide survivor and so I understand,” she added. “I have a beautiful family and I realize that I can’t leave my children or my husband or parents behind, whether I believe it or not, because they would be devastated.”
Eisenbarth describes the Memory Lane It’s Not Always Easy Street 5K as a very healing walk.
There is a $20 registration fee for the event, which includes “in memory” signs that will be placed along the walk route.
Participants can register the day of the event, with pre-registration beginning at 9 a.m. at the walk location on Clarendon Road at the Katy Trail shelter.
“The signs are available at Rick Koening’s Law Office if individual would like to pre-register,” Eisenbarth said. “We would like to have those returned to either the law office or Dugan’s Paint by Sept. 8.
“We are also going to have a Facebook Auction that starts at 7 p.m. on Sept. 10th and ends Monday night Sept. 12 at 7 p.m.,” she added. “We have had a lot of sponsors and donated items and we could not do this without the love and support from the volunteers and the community and our sponsors.”
The organization is always looking for volunteers to help with their work according to Eisenbarth.
Information about the organization and a schedule of upcoming events can be found on their Facebook page, Memory Lane-It’s Not Always Easy Street or at their website, www.memorylanefoundation.weebly.com.
“I think it’s time we come out of the closet and start to talk about mental illness,” Eisenbarth said. “It’s nothing to be ashamed of and it isn’t the fault of the person; it’s a chemical imbalance that can be helped.
“Everything happens for a reason and I believe this feel in my lap at a time when I needed something positive to happen in my life and everything else has fallen into place since then,” she added. “We are here to help those going through this find the help they need and that they are not alone, their friends and family need them.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.