STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV)– Motorcycle riders teamed up with suicide prevention advocates on Saturday to shed light on the tenth leading cause of death in the United States
More than 60 bikers gathered at Shenandoah Harley Davidson in Staunton for the second annual Ride to Fight Suicide.
The event, which raises money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, was organized by the Ham family, who lost their 19-year-old son Zachary a little over a year ago.
During its second year, the Ride to Fight Suicide surpassed its fundraising goal, raising enough money to take the event to the next level.
“This years [ride] raised double of what they raised last year. Last year, they raised about $ 2,500. This year, they raised over $ 5,000,” said Crystal Graham, the area director of The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Reaching the $ 5,000 mark means the ride can now be considered to be a statewide event next year.
“There’s so many people in the community who have been touched by [suicide],” said Graham, who also participates in Out of the Darkness walks. “Events like this really reduce the stigma. They show you that we’re going to come out into the light of day, we’re going to have an event, and were going to bring together a lot of people who support a cause that touches so many.”
A fundraiser and silent auction was also a part of Saturday’s event.
The World Health Organization estimates close to one million people will die this year from suicide, and the numbers are expected to continue growing.
If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. All calls are free and confidential.