By: Shandy Longcore,
Founder of Embracing Imperfections (501c3)
I have just nine toes. Which makes me different.
This makes me just as normal as you because when you stop and consider it, you too are distinguished by something that separates your essence from mine.
And embracing what makes us unique is one reason why our lives are so sacred. And why it would be such a waste and a pity to succumb to suicide.
I nearly did. At the time, in my underdeveloped psyche, I thought myself not pretty enough. So, I went into the basement of our family home where I knew a rifle to be kept, aimed it at my chest, and pulled the trigger.
I was 10 years old.
Through what I can only attest was a series of miracles, I somehow survived. Paramount was the mistaken notion that my heart was located on the right side of my chest. Had I aimed more to the left, my name would only whisper to you from some weathered tombstone.
I went on to excel in school and sports and business and more. I came to understand that I mattered. Today, I direct a one-woman non-profit called “Embracing Imperfections.” My life is now dedicated to educating people about what I call “the power of one.” I spend part of every day trying to prevent suicide.
Recently, I forged a connection with the DeCamp Family Foundation. As part of our collaboration, I hope to book more speaking engagements so I can further inspire young adults about what options they have besides taking their lives.
Why? Because suicide is a quiet monster. Each year, more than 800,000 people die from suicide in the U.S. alone. That’s an average of 129 per day.
Among those aged 10 through 24, it’s the second-leading cause of death. And for every person who succeeds at suicide, an estimated 25 others attempt it.
In a world made even more challenging by a recent Pandemic, suicide must be addressed and better understood. My goal is to demonstrate how by harnessing the power within you, it’s possible to beat depression and move forward in ways that give you purpose. To soar.
If your school or organization is seeking a passionate speaker craving opportunities to share her story and inject a message of love and hope into your people and your culture, please reach out. If together, we can save but one young adult from a tragedy in the making, we’ve made it a better world, haven’t we?