Local Organizations Team Up to Fight Stateline Suicide

Event encourages people to reach out and get help if needed

ROCKFORD - A mother heartbroken over the death of her daughter is keeping her legacy alive through dance.

She's teaming up with another local organization to help others speak up and find the help they might need.

And in doing so, they're hoping they can maybe even save a life.

"I was overwhelmed at the enormity of the problem," said Carol Johnson.

Carol Johnson knows the pain of suicide all too well.

Johnson's granddaughter was a former dance studio owner who took her own life in 2016.

In her honor, Johnson created Love Dance Pray-they feature dance classes taught by nationally known choreographers to raise money.

It's all in an effort to prevent these type of deaths among young people.

Love Dance Pray teamed up with Shatter our Silence to host a suicide prevention fundraiser.

"I realized that this was something that  we all needed to be involved in and working towards correcting," said Johnson. "And especially with our young people because it is so prevalent in our young people."

Kevin Polky is the founder of Shatter our Silence.

He said it's important to know suicide is still a big issue within our community.

"Even though nationally suicide is the second leading cause of death for all young adults aged 14-24, in Winnebago County just last year we had five deaths," said Polky.

His organization strives to create real conversations about suicide among young adults.

"When individuals are feeling hopeless and feeling suicidal, they have a tendency to go silent," said Polky. "There's a lot of shame around in how they're feeling, how they're feeling so stuck in that despair. So, that's part of what we wanna shatter, that aspect of it, that you can reach out.

He says by listening, not being judgemental, and having the courage to ask someone if they need help is all it could take to help someone.

Johnson says her group agrees.

They're getting the word out the best way they know how to-through dance.

"We just feel that anything we can do in helping Kevin get the word out and perhaps preventing one death is worth the difference," said Johnson.

"Ultimately, we all have the ability to be the light in our own darkness," said Polky. "And to someone else."

All funds raised at today's event are donated to Breath of Faith, NAMI, Group Hope and Shatter our Silence.

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