COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Saturday morning at Kinnett Stadium, a group of runners and walkers will gather to remember a young man who took his own life about a year and half ago.
It will be all about the memory of Sims Vickers. But, it is also about raising awareness of a serious problem — teen suicide.
Sims Vickers was just a few days short of his 15th birthday when he took his own life in late March of last year.
His friends from the First Baptist Church youth group want to honor his memory.
Abby Jones, an 11th-grade student at Northside High School has led the effort to honor her friend.
“And I never really got a goodbye,” Jones said on Friday. “Because the last time I saw him he was throwing the football from across the basketball court to make it in the goal. And I never really said goodbye. We just went about our day. I didn’t know that was going to be the last time. I don’t want it to be the last time. I want it to continue. I want to feel like this every day. And I want to wear his shirt. And I feel like a lot of that will be there tomorrow.”
The above picture was taken the week Sims took his own life.
Abby says they can’t change that but they can reach out to others who are in distress.
“I always try and tell my friends and the people around me and friends of friends that if you do need to talk, I am here,” Jones said. “There is no judgment involved. If you need to talk, I will sit there and listen. I am not going to run off and tell somebody else. I just want to be a safe space for everybody.”
About 200 runners and walkers have preregistered for the event at Kinnett Stadium. The funds raised will be donated to The Bradley Center, a local mental health treatment facility.
Sims suffered from epileptic seizures and was being treated for it when he took his own life.
“And it was just so, so heartbreaking because he had so much love and light to offer,” said Daniel Potter, First Baptist Church Minister of Youth. “And it really shook up not only our youth family, but the larger Columbus community, our church. It’s really been something difficult to reconcile.”
The run/walk starts at 9 in the morning. Same-day registration will be held at Kinnett Stadium beginning at 8. The cost is $35 dollars per participant.