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Softball tourney to raise money for suicide prevention

By: Alexandra Garner, Special to the Journal
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Chris Bunnell will host a softball tournament to raise money for suicide prevention this weekend. The event sparked 20 years ago, in the summer of 1992, a year after her son, Tracy Bunnell, committed suicide.

Friends described Tracy Bunnell as the guy everyone enjoyed being with.

"He was friends with everybody. There was not one person that could say anything bad about him," Keri Roeder said, a family friend of the Bunnells.
Toward the final years of his life, Tracy was displaying signs of his depression, yet nobody saw, said Donald Garner, another family friend of the Bunnells. Therefore, it was a huge surprise when the news of his suicidal action was revealed, he added.

"He killed himself right after high school. All of us questioned why. What did we do as friends that our friend would take his life?" Roeder questioned.
After his death, "the family got together because they wanted to do something in his name and wanted to help other people that thought about wanting to commit suicide," said Garner.

Lots of questions, and fears, and thoughts arose as time moved. Soon enough, "Chris realized that there wasn't any sort of hotline that they could call if they were feeling lost" Roeder said.

Because of this she decided to organize the suicide prevention memorial to offer people an outlet where they can call and talk freely. It also provides them with the support they need, she explained.

For the past 20 years, the softball tournament has been their most successful fundraiser. It's always the very last full weekend of July, and "it's a tournament that everyone can enjoy, and it raises a lot of money for suicide prevention," Garner said.

In a way, this tournament is a part of Chris' healing process. "We have to do it. We can't not do it. We have to make it work," said Chris Bunnell, host of the event.

The goal is to raise money, but aside from that it's also a way to bring the community together. "This is how we pay for our suicide hotlines in Placer County," she adds.

Ultimately, Roeder wants to remind us that "this isn't a softball tournament to win. It's a community even to raise money, and celebrate a great friend we lost."
For more information or to register, go to www.tbmsp.org or dial (530) 305-9620.

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Benefit Tourney

What: Softball tournament fundraiser for suicide prevention

When: Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29

Where: Auburn District Regional Park, 3770 Richardson Drive, Auburn

For more: Call (530) 305-9620