Did you know that suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 15-24? (CDC)
Did you know that more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED?
Through Anthony’s Hope, the Smithtown Children’s Foundation is filling a void raising awareness of & providing emotional support to families suffering from anxiety & depression & suicide prevention. We are helping the Raso family realize their vision honoring Anthony’s memory by helping others with this illness. Funds raised by this chapter will be devoted toward the ultimate goal having the right programs that will help adults and teens manage their anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. More immediately, we will be funding the Anthony’s Hope Scholarship for graduates of both Smithtown High School West & East. With the help of Anthony’s family & friends, we are providing tools to manage anxiety & depression through team building events & fundraisers. As we grow, we want to be involved in the school systems helping teens, like Anthony, manage their depression, stress and anxiety.
To learn more about Anthony……
My name is Peter Raso and I’m 20 years old from Smithtown, NY and I’d like to share with you my family’s story. Some of you might be able to relate to what I am sharing and it is my hope that my story can help you. In 2011, my mother was diagnosed with bone cancer. My brother Anthony (who suffered from depression and Bipolar Disorder), my father & I took the news of my mother’s diagnosis really hard. As my mother went through treatments and multiple surgeries, Anthony’s mental health took over his life! He had a very hard time dealing with his depression and managing the fear around the ups and downs of mother’s health. My brother Anthony was the most loving person. All he ever wanted to do was help other kids with their depression, anxiety and problems.
Depression is a serious illness and my brother Anthony died from depression and as a community, we need to raise more awareness and help get more research done so we can help stop the suffering! Our dream now is to realize my brother’s vision of helping people manage and heal their anxiety and depression. He seemed to have all the answers for his friends and family but had such a hard time doing the same for himself. On February 11, 2019, my family experienced the most horrific heartache one can ever imagine; Anthony took his own life. He felt so depressed and alone that his only answer was to commit suicide. He couldn’t see another way to manage his pain and thoughts. My family and friends had to do the unthinkable and put my 16 year old brother to rest. As a family, all we can think about is how we can stay united and it is fulfilling my brother’s vision of helping others which is giving us the inner strength to move forward.
I would love to share with you a poem I dedicated to my brother:
Dear Anthony, my baby brother:
It has been too long that you finally got it your way, you left us here, without a farewell leaving behind just your smell. Everyone tells me to respect your decision and understand that you fulfilled your mission but they don't understand my pain, they don't know how it feels to be stuck under the rain. I wish I could hold you and tell you that I love you. I wish I could understand. I wish I was there to hold your hand; maybe I could have changed your mind! The night that you decided to leave and to no longer believe, I know you weren't afraid anymore of who would be waiting for you at the door. I finally saw your last letter. I was hoping it would make me feel better instead I miss you more and your last words made me swore. It made me wish you weren't gone because I don't know for how long I can stay strong. It's been too long since I lost you brother, it's been too long since I lost my other. I wish you had given me the chance to take one last glance at your face filled with love before you flew away like a dove. Rest in peace brother!
I hope you will no longer suffer. I will be waiting for you in my dreams to re-live all those beautiful memories. Until we meet again.
I will love you always,