Dear Editor:

I am Shawn Smith, a mom and a survivor of suicide loss. My first-born son, Candler David Smith, took his life on Feb. 1, 2017. He was 19 years of age and a student at Kennesaw State University.

It was only a month ago I was asking you to come walk with me in the Barrow County Out of the Darkness Walk. Thank you for coming out in record numbers both in attendance and in money raised to support the education, research and program support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Today I invite you to come to a time for Hope and Healing as the AFSP brings the International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day for survivors of suicide loss to gather together around the world to heal and to find hope together.

The local event will be held from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, 275 North 5th Ave., Winder, in the fellowship hall. Registration will be from 8:30-9 a.m. COVID-19 indoor protocols will be in place for people to wear a mask and show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.

Please bring a picture of your loved one and any other healing memorabilia.

This will be my fourth year to attend this event, and every year I return home with a heart filled with hope and a heart that continues to beat on its path to healing.

Won’t you please join me, the mental health ministry team of Winder FCC/DOC and other community partners for this time of hope and healing?

Peace and blessings.

Shawn Smith

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