June 17, 2009--
Alex Blackwood, a 19 year old successful horse riding champion silently suffered from depression, but no one knew until it was too late.
Lauren Hill, a close friend to Alex, says they texted the morning of October 17, 2008 and everything seemed fine. That evening, Alex pulled into his driveway and committed suicide. She says it was a shock to everyone.
Now, in his honor, and to educate others about youth depression, Connie Hill and her daughter Lauren have formed a foundation.
"It's named after Alex Blackwood, because Lauren wanted to see something good come of this tragedy, of his life. He would have wanted that too. He was such a wonderful kid, and unknown to us he was depressed. I'm in the healthcare industry and I didn't even see it."
Connie says through this foundation, she hopes to implement depression screenings called Teen Screens in local schools.
"In Michigan a girl who took the test said, 'after I took this test, I realized that what I had was more than just normal sadness."
The organizations first event will be held July 18th. It's a poker run with particpation from Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
In Jonesboro, the ride begins at Cardiology Associates downtown. Registration is from 8:30 -9:30 a.m. with first bike out at 9:45 a.m. Entry fee is $40 and includes T-shirt, patch, entertainment from Catherine Hickland - Hypnotist, and meal and $100 gaming card from Hollywood Casino.