On March 30, 2008, my son-in-law, Rob, took his own life. We were celebrating my granddaughter’s 10th birthday when the call came in. Rob left his 2 little girls, his wife and the rest of his family that day….That was the beginning of our family story.
Little does a person know the impact that suicide will have many years later, 2 ½ years as a matter of fact. In October of 2010, my granddaughter, Sam, thought about committing suicide and then again in March of 2011.
Here’s how she puts it: I am Sam. I am a survivor. I suffer from Depression and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I am a patient at Cincinnati Children’s. On March 30, 2008 my Dad took his own life leaving behind the survivors: me, my sister, my mom, his parents, his brother and many more family and friends. In October 2010, I became very depressed and thought about taking my own life too. My mom did the right thing and took me to the emergency department at Cincinnati Children’s where I was admitted and spent a week in the mental health unit. In March 2011, I became very depressed again and spent another week in the hospital. There, I met other kids like me. I attended the psychiatric partial hospitalization program. Now I see a counselor and take medicine. Without the help from the doctors, nurses and counselors at Children’s, I might have made the same mistake my dad made. I am Sam. I am a survivor.
After suffering at the hand of someone else’s decision, Sam is learning how to live with and overcome depression and PTSD. She takes medication and knows her limits.
We miss Rob every day, but our family is focusing on the positive. Sam, her sister Emma and family have chosen to allow Sam’s story to inspire us and drive us to help other families. We want to save lives!
Our family founded the organization Rob’s Kids in 2011 to make a difference in the lives of children who struggle with depression and PTSD by providing funding and sponsorship to psychiatric professionals and institutions and providing resources and education to families.
Sam’s first big goal is to donate $10,000 to Cincinnati Walks for Kids – the annual walk benefitting Cincinnati Children’s. She’s already nearly reached that goal and the walk isn’t until October!
In September 2012, Sam is entering high school, raising money to support the mental health program at Cincinnati Children’s, she marches in the band, she is active in her church and she’s become a polished public speaker.
She is Sam. She is a survivor.
She takes every opportunity to share her story and raise awareness of the necessity of funding for pediatric mental health programs. At the ripe old age of 14, Sam is a polished speaker and passionate advocate for herself and kids like her.
I will be walking proudly next to my granddaughter at Cincinnati Walks for Kids on October, 20th. Sam has also invited the doctors and staff in psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s to join our team. We’re all walking together for Rob’s Kids! We are still forming our team and we’d love to have anyone who would like to join us. You can register online for the walk via our team page.
These past several years have been full of highs and lows for our family, but the discovery of Sam’s courage and dedication to this cause has turned out to be an amazing gift to all of us.
I am Stephanie Potter, Sam and Emma’s grandma, aka GMA. Our lives changed dramatically after Rob’s death. God gave me a vision when Sam came to me and told me that she wanted to help kids on a grand scale. We put together a plan and talked openly to all of our friends and family.
Rob’s Kids, Inc. is my passion and Rob’s Kids (Sam & Emma) are my passion. As you can imagine there isn’t anything that I wouldn’t do to help my family overcome the hurdles that they sometimes are faced with.
We have a large goal…Rob’s Kids would like to own a building in a few years. We want to provide a safe place for kids who struggle every day. Emma put it like this, “Our building would be a home away from home where kids can find a friend, and a future.”
During National Suicide Prevention Awareness week and throughout the year, all of us at Rob’s Kids encourage you to learn what you can about depression, PTSD and recognizing the signs that someone is considering ending their own life. Help is available and we’d like everyone to know where to find it.