by Ronnie Walker MS, LCPC
Five hours later, in pain and with a restrictive cast running the full length of my right arm … I worried. It frightened me to think of all the accountabilities I held as Founder and Executive Director of the Alliance of Hope (AOH).
Unable to type and dealing with ongoing pain, how would I get things done at this critical stage of our organization’s development? We were about to impliment major improvements – a new website and forum - to keep up with changes in technology. And we needed to launch our annual Holiday Fundraising Campaign. The revenue from our holiday campaign funds the services we provide throughout the year. Without it, we’re in trouble.
While I’d like to say I was inspiringly resilient … I wasn’t. The pain and the medication for the pain, left me exhausted. Perhaps a week after the fall however, something familiar clicked in. I overheard myself “talking possibility.” I told someone that I was committed to “having a break become a breakthrough” for me and for the Alliance of Hope.” What the breakthrough was going to be, I wasn’t sure.
Today, as I look back over the last three weeks, the breakthrough is clear. Moderators and Stewards stepped up to the plate on our forum, Facebook page, and blog. They took on expanded accountabilities, bringing creativity and competence to all that they did.
I learned that I can give more and more away … train more and more people and that doing so will actually strengthen our community and our ability to serve survivors in diverse and creative ways. It’s a breakthrough for me to give things away and to trust they will be done as well and even better than I would have done them. It’s scary and it’s wonderful to see that happen.
As I write this article, I’m still in a cast and I’m still working on “breakthroughs.” Heading into December, I’m hoping for a big one! I need to turn the challenge of funding the Alliance over to those of you in our community who know and understand the profound and life-saving role our organization plays.
I launched AOH six years ago from my kitchen island. Today, our community forum has more than 5,400 members. An average of 4.5 new survivors continue to arrive daily. Over 35% of the people leaving reviews on our website indicated that the Alliance “saved their lives. “
A recent study confirmed what we’ve suspected. Survivors are over nine times more likely to feel suicidal in the initial months after of loss. The Alliance has been saving lives for the last 6 years. We’ve found an effective way to prevent suicide in a vulnerable population and day after day, together, we’re doing it.
If our work is to continue, our community needs to become more and more involved. We do not yet have a “signature fundraiser” … like a walk for suicide survivors … or funding from large foundations. We operate on a “shoestring” and need to strengthen our fundraising ability to match our ability to save lives.
Right now, as we enter the holiday season, I ask for your help in creating a breakthrough. Our target this holiday, is $25,000 to fund the upgrade and conversion of our website and forum from outdated software that cannot be read on many new devices. This conversion will automate a number of time-consuming processes that are now done manually and allow us to expand and provide personal support at an entirely new and creative level.
Please consider the value provided by the Alliance of Hope. I invite you to give as generously as you are able and to consider asking those around you who understand what it takes to survive a suicide, to help as well. As always, I promise that any monies you donate will be carefully spent to make a direct difference in suicide aftercare and prevention.
You can make a donation by clicking here or mailing a check to: Alliance of Hope, PO Box 7005, Evanston, IL 60201. We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit. You can make a donation in honor of or memory of someone and we will send an acknowledgment on your behalf.
Ronnie Walker MS, LPCP is the Founder and Executive Director of the Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors. She is a survivor of suicide.