Today we’d like to introduce you to Sam Gerry.
Hi Sam, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
After battling debilitating mental illness throughout my first and second high school years, I decided to share my experiences with suicidality and start a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention through the American Junior Golf Association’s Leadership Links program.
While the fundraiser took off and raised over $1,000 in just a few hours, my story seemed to resonate with many. This allowed me to connect with those who had experienced similar challenges and simultaneously fostered a passion for supporting those who struggled behind closed doors – similar to myself just a few short months earlier.
Since then, I have had the privilege of connecting with hundreds of like-minded people across the globe, starting a non-profit with one of my best friends from high school, and making over dozen national and international media appearances.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Interestingly, as I become more immersed in mental health awareness and suicide prevention, people assume I am immune to mental health conditions.
In 2020, I was placed into an intensive outpatient hospitalization program for re-emerging suicidal thoughts that ended up debilitating amid my advocacy work. It was fascinating being both a patient and an advocate simultaneously, but it certainly does not make the time spent in psychiatric care any easier.
That said, being an advocate with lived experience has positives and negatives. For example, my suffering serves as a reminder that there are millions more who, like me, are fighting to stay alive, which ultimately inspires me to continue my work.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Founded in 2019, Kick It is a charity kickball tournament turned non-profit organization supporting suicide prevention through our annual kickball tournament, educational programs, and local scholarships.
Overall, we’ve been most proud of the community we’ve been able to build since our first event in October 2019. While fundraising is excellent, it simply does not compare to the sense of pride that comes with making meaningful connections with those who, like us, are looking to destigmatize mental health conditions and prevent suicide.
Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
While growing up, sports were an integral part of who I was. And much of my identity was centralized around hockey until a few too many concussions took me out of the game. Following hockey, I spent most of my time playing golf, and I’ve had the privilege to compete at a high level throughout high school and college. This attraction to sports among me and Noah (Kick It co-founder) was why we chose an intramural sport to support suicide prevention.
- Website: kickitforacause.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/samvgerry/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/samvgerry
Mac Alexander, Noah Stebbins