Walk in Memory/Walk for Hope Sept 10, 2016
Walk in Memory/Walk for Hope- Sept 10, 2016 8AM, Bob Miller Middle School
2400 Cozy Circle, Henderson, NV
Lanie’s Hope’s proudly supports the Walk in Memory/Walk for Hope. We walk to remember those who have been lost to suicide, to honor the family members and survivors, and to shine a light of hope for those who may be considering suicide. Compulsive Gamblers have the HIGHEST suicide rate of any group, with 1 in 5 compulsive gamblers considering or attempting suicide.
Last year’s walk was dedicated to raising awareness of gambling addiction and suicide. I was honored and humbled to serve as the keynote speaker. I made a promise to myself and to my God to spend my life raising awareness of the social issues surrounding problem gambling. I would do ANYTHING within my power to prevent just one death due to a gambling related suicide. I believe that anyone reading this would too! So won’t you walk with us this year?
Many of you know that I lost my sister Lanie due to a gambling-related overdose in June of 2008. See…I still can’t actually say the words “Lanie committed suicide because of her gambling addiction.” I always find myself couching this phrase in indirect ways like “a gambling-related overdose.” In my heart of hearts, do I think she intentionally killed herself. No. I think she was in such immense pain and shame that she simply didn’t want to FEEL anything. But we’ll never know, because Lanie’s not here to tell her story. What I do know is this. If Lanie had not been gambling, she would not have overdosed. If Lanie had continued to abstain from gambling and attend the recovery fellowship she belonged to, she would not have had to endure the shame and despair that drove her to overdose on antidepressants. Gambling Addiction DID cost my sister her life.
…And…it cost me my best friend. It cost her daughter and son the loss of a mother whom they loved dearly. It cost her grandson Colby his “Grandma Lanie” whom he still speaks of with such love and longing, even though he was only 3 years old when she died. It cost her the opportunity to ever know her Granddaughter “Lyla Lanie” or her Great Granddaughter and Great Grandson who have come into our family since Lanie died. Lane died at the age of 52. She was a lung cancer survivor! She survived 9 years post chemotherapy, only to succumb to a disease that is so insidious that no one knew she was still struggling with the addiction. We, her family and loved ones, thought she was in recovery. We thought she hadn’t gambled in years.
We were wrong. The disease of compulsive gambling is cloaked in secrecy and shame. The Suicide Prevention Coalition uses the term “Out of the Darkness” to describe their mission: taking suicide out of the darkness and into the light. The same philosophy must be applied to gambling addiction. When we illuminate the disease and raise awareness that gambling addiction (so often undetected as there are no tell-tail signs like slurred speech or a staggered walk) is a recognized mental health issue requiring treatment and therapy like any other addiction, we take it “out of the darkness.” This is my prayer, and this is the mission of Lanie’s Hope; to humanize and illuminate the disease of compulsive gambling.
I invite each of you to walk with us on Saturday, September 1, 2016, as we take suicide and gambling addiction out of the darkness and into the light.
To Register to Walk with Lanie’s Hope Team, Go to the “Merchandise” page, Select “Walk in Memory” and follow the prompts to register. There is no cost to register.
Kindly consider “wearing our colors” and proudly identifying yourself as part of “Team Lanie’s Hope!” T-shirts and apparel are available on the “Merchandise” page.