WESTFIELD – Lisa Schenke, the mother who lost her son to suicide and shares their collective tale through her book “WITHOUT TIM,” is driving demand for tickets to the 2013 annual gala of suicide prevention and crisis hotline CONTACT We Care, with more than two thirds of the seats already sold for the Oct. 24 event.
Schenke lost her 18-year-old son, Tim, to suicide in 2008 when he stepped in front of a commuter train. Tim Schenke’s death was the first of 10 suicides by teenagers and young adults over four years in Southern Monmouth County, what has been called a suicide cluster.
Lisa Schenke will share the tale of Tim’s spiral toward suicide and her recovery from his death when she serves as the keynote speaker at the 2013 Call of Hope Gala of CONTACT We Care, which also is a suicide prevention trainer headquartered in Westfield with a listening hub in Morristown. The Gala is being held Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Primavera Regency at 1080 Valley Road in Stirling.
CONTACT We Care also is honoring several community supporters at the gala. Novartis Pharmaceuticals is being honored as Citizen of the Year; Investors Bank is being recognized as Business Partner of the Year; and Thomas Phelan, Esq., will receive the Excellence in Community Service Award. Dr. Gerald Glasser is being named Humanitarian of the Year in memoriam.
Sponsoring the event are: Platinum Sponsor – Novartis Pharmaceuticals; Gold Sponsors – PSE&G, General Plumbing Supply, The James Ward Mansion and Investors Bank; Silver Sponsor – Eastern Dental; Bronze Sponsor – Celgene Corporation.
CONTACT We Care each year responds to more than 12,000 calls and texts from people in crisis or who are feeling suicidal. More than 140 volunteer listeners and texters are trained to provide an empathetic ear and help callers and texters see they have options.
The hotline also focuses on combating teenage suicide and launched its ongoing Save Our Youth campaign last year designed to raise awareness about teen suicide and increase resources to help teenagers in crisis. The program entails in-school outreach to teenagers to let them know someone is always available to speak with them anonymously, as well as in-school suicide identification and prevention training for educators and training for parents.
“Lisa’s story is so moving and far-reaching that we are finding great interest in attending the gala to hear her speak,” said Joanne Oppelt, CONTACT We Care executive director. “Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among children 10-14, the third leading cause of death of youth aged 15-24 and the second leading cause of death among college students.
“When you combine those frightening numbers with the fact that Lisa’s community was overrun by this tragedy she is the perfect speaker for our dinner and an ideal partner in our ongoing fight against teenage suicide, as well as suicide among people of all ages.”
Shenke will have copies of “WITHOUT TIM” available for sale at the gala. To learn more about Lisa Schenke, Tim and her family and for additional resources, visit www.withouttim.com.
CONTACT We Care serves Central and Northern New Jersey and is a primary responder to calls to the national suicide prevention line (1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-SUICIDE) that originate in New Jersey. Callers also reach CONTACT by dialing 908-232-2880 or texting “CWC” to 839863. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer listener should contact Sue Fasano at 908.301.1899.
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