The sunflowers are planted and growing in our front yard with an iFRED Hope sign prominently displayed. Our lives changed when our 20 year old youngest son, Andrew, succumbed to suicide in 2009, and we were told by too many, “You just can’t stop some people from killing themselves.” This lack of insight by medical leadership and colleagues led to my retirement as an Army Pediatrician and Healthcare Administrator after 23 years and the beginning of my ‘third career’ with a non-profit research and education team of soul-mates – “Serendipity Alliance.” We are “A Voice for the Voiceless…by listening to survivors.” We recognize depression is a normal reaction to a negative experience. The answer is being aware and changing the ‘experience’ before a crisis happens rather than waiting for crises to crop up. Zero suicide is the only answer and IS possible in our lifetimes. One ‘gift’ of Andrew’s passing was meeting Patch Adams again talking to the Wounded Warriors at Walter Reed in 2011. He encouraged me to begin International Community Clowning and the wearing of a red nose in my daily life. My 2012 trip to Russia with Patch to Russian Orphanages, Hospitals, and Senior Centers led to remarkable improvement of my grief, depression, and despair as a suicide survivor dad and combat Veteran with PTSD. This experience has led to collaboration with Gesundheit and the Chicago VA to conduct an all Veteran clowning trip to Guatemala City in October 10-18, 2015 to examine the efficacy of a community service clowning experience to treat effects of PTSD, traumatic brain injury (TBI), chronic depression, and suicidal ideation.
April 17, 2015 By Leave a Comment
What Brings Me HOPE: Collaborating with other visionary people who believe and know we can change our society…together.