Celebration of Life 2 Years Later - Stand UP Foundation

Celebration of Life 2 Years Later

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Celebration of Life 2 Years Later

In the fall of 2014, it was time for WMW to develop our first conference. While contemplating topics, I had a tragic event occur that would forever change me. On November 11, 2014, I woke up to Instagram posts stating,  “Rest in Peace” and “Goodbye” to my friend. I was confused and shocked when I found out he had completed suicide. So many of us were overcome with sadness and left with the question, "why"? I could see the need for knowledge about the dangers of suicide and for guidance on how to cope with grief. Therefore, a few members and I went to the Women Making Waves organization and pitched the idea of the conference being dedicated to not only my friend, but to all members of the community that have been affected by loss. After debating whether this topic would be too controversial and too soon after my friend’s death, we realized we had to make a difference in our community. This was our mission and we were ready to put this to action.  

 

The next couple months became a constant blur of meetings and emails, trying to get all the details complete. With the help of our conference committee and all the girls, our first conference, “Celebration of Life,” had begun on February 22nd, 2015. That cool February morning I was filled with anxiety as I rehearsed my speech and reviewed last minute details. I will never forget, right before people began showing up, all of the members met in the auditorium sitting in silence. We just soaked up all the handwork we had put in. As a cofounder, my eyes filled with tears realizing how far we had come in only short 7 months. I could not believe it. When the conference began, I was astounded to see 140 people in the audience. As it was time for my speech, I was filled with gratitude that I could express why suicide awareness is so important in our community. The words flowed naturally as I spoke out into the audience trying to make an impact. I realized I was addressing a sensitive topic when I saw tears in the audience. But, at the end of the day, I sat back and reflected realizing this was my passion; to help others and address the topics that no one had the courage to do.

We had an incredible line up of speakers and activities that filled the entire day. We all dedicated the conference to someone we had lost and lit a candle in memory of them for the entire day. It was such an honor to give back to our community in this way and I constantly amazed at we continue to offer programming that changes lives forever.

You can take a walk with down memory lane and view all the details, presenters and why we all felt this topic was so important by clicking here. 

~Izzy, 18

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