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Event offers help for suicide loss
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Survivors of Suicide Day

What: Survivors of suicide loss gathering for mutual support and help with coping

When: 9 a.m. to 12 noon today

Where: Stanislaus County Ag Center/ Harvest Hall, 3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto


Every year, survivors of suicide loss gather together in locations around the world to feel a sense of community, to promote healing, and to connect with others like them.

International Survivors of Suicide Day will be held at the Stanislaus County Ag Center at 9 a.m. today for friends and family members who’ve lost a loved one from suicide. The event welcomes survivors of suicide loss, providing healing space with a diverse panel of survivors who will discuss their losses and how they coped during the aftermath.

“This will be the first time Modesto will be participating in this event,” said volunteer and suicide loss survivor Barbara Chiesa. “The presentation will include a 90 minute DVD comprised of family members, suicide survivors, and health professionals discussing about suicide and how it can be prevented."

Chiesa, who lost her brother this year from suicide, hopes to help others cope with suicide loss.

“Each year, International Survivors of Suicide Day helps individuals and families who have lost a loved one from suicide,” said Chiesa.  “There are many people that are in the need of a support system and the closest chapter from this organization is in Sacramento.  We are hoping to establish a chapter in Modesto and get families involved in this movement.”

Volunteers from across the globe organize sites in their local communities.  Like so many others who have lost a loved one to suicide, guest speaker of ISOSD Alice Quayle, hopes her story will keep others from someday being in her shoes.

“My son, Dustin Boardrow took his life three years ago,” said Quayle.  “He was a math teacher and assistant freshman football coach at Enochs High School.  Most people who looked up to my son would say he was charismatic.  I didn’t realize the demons he was fighting inside of him.”

After the death of his father in 2005, and ending his engagement a few months before, Boardrow was diagnosed with depression.

“He totaled his car the day before he died,” said Quayle.  “My son gave me no indication that he was going to do something drastic.  Later that day, when me and my husband dropped off a pickup for his use, he seemed okay.  He shot himself the next morning.”

Quayle resolved to make sure his death will have some meaning for others who are facing the same situation. Quayle organized Modesto's "Out of the Darkness Community Walk" to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for the past three years and hopes to set up an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention chapter in Modesto.

“I was ignorant about depression," Quayle said. "If you suffered from depression, get over it. I've gone through the realization that they can't just get over it.  I hope that this event will help us unite together as one and help other families around the Central Valley cope with the aftermath of a loved one’s suicide."