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Dad of suicide victim speaks at walk to support survivors of suicide in Tempe

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. For every suicide, organizers estimate about 25 loved ones are left behind.

TEMPE, Ariz. — Take a walk. Save a life. That was the motto for the 14th Annual Jeremyah Memorial 5K Walk/Run to support survivors of suicide. The event was at Tempe’s Kiwanis Park.

 “I lost my son November 20th of 2019,” Chris Dobkins said.

He is not alone. 

Countless balloons – released into the sky Saturday morning – represent victims of suicide. Chris’ son, Jacob, would have turned 26-years-old Wednesday.

“The kid always had a smile on his face. Always out to help people. Give his shirt off his back. Very kind, giving person,” Dobkins said.

Dobkins said there were no signs. His son was a straight-laced professional – no booze, no drugs, all business. And it had been that way. He graduated from ASU with honors and was a homeowner in his early twenties.

“Everybody believes that it can’t happen to their family,” Dobkins said.

Dobkins was accompanied by a friend, Allen Nichols. The pair made the journey together. Nichols echoed Dobkins' sentiments about Jacob.

“He was a great kid. He always had a smile every time I saw him.  Loved comic books. Loved to be around his friends and family,” Nichols said. “We see his face in our minds and our hearts every day and then now he’s not here.” 

Two men, among many others, moving forward while mourning a suicide.

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. For every suicide, organizers estimate about 25 loved ones are left behind.

If you or a loved one struggle with suicidal thoughts and depression, you are not alone. Here are a few free resources available to you 24/7:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Arizona Teen Lifeline: 1-800-428-8336
EMPACT Survivors of suicide: 1-866-205-5229