Elburn mother, daughter walk for suicide prevention

By on August 14, 2009

Phillips’ want to organize similar event for Elburn
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Michelle Phillips and her teenage daughter, Riley, recently participated in a suicide prevention walk in Chicago, along with approximately 2,000 other people. They were so moved by the experience that they want to bring a similar event to Elburn.

“We’d like to raise money that hopefully could benefit local suicide prevention programs,” Michelle said.

The Phillips, of Elburn, decided to take part in the 20-mile Out of the Darkness walk after Kaneland High School senior Andie Christoffel took his life earlier this year.

“It was important for Riley because she was so affected by Andie’s death,” Michelle said.

The Out of the Darkness Overnight walk took place June 27-28 along Lake Michigan downtown, organized by the nonprofit American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

For the Out of the Darkness walk, the AFSP required specific pledge amounts from participants, $700 for Riley and $1,000 for Michelle. The Elburn walk would not require a pledge amount, just whatever sum participants can raise or contribute, Michelle said.

Michelle said she will work to steer the money the Elburn walk raises to local agencies such as Suicide Prevention Services in Batavia.

The walk not only would be a fundraiser, but an event to show support for the families of suicide victims, including Andie’s, and the wife and children of a local man Michelle knew who committed suicide several years ago, she said.

Michelle said the high incidence of suicide, particularly among teenagers, is “mind-baffling,” and she wants to do what she can to raise awareness about the issue.