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Hockey team hosts second annual suicide awareness game

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Hockey team hosts second annual suicide awareness game

Annabel Burba, Staff Reporter

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On February 2, the Okemos hockey team will hold their Okemos Suicide Awareness Hockey Game at Suburban Ice, a fundraiser held in honor of the late OHS student David Rhem.

Complete with the silent auction at 7pm and the game at 7:30, the event’s proceeds will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Last year, the game was held in the memory of Jude Alge, a student who committed suicide just three months before David. The admission to the game combined with awareness bands raised almost $2000 for the Listening Ear Foundation.

Like the year before, the hockey team will be selling suicide awareness beads at lunch in the week preceding the game. There is also an official GoFundMe set up for those donating in David’s name, which gives the money directly to the AFSP.

Sam Einhorn (12) and Logan Fausten (12) organized the new silent auction in order to buy special jerseys for the game and to raise additional money for the AFSP.

“When we went to the Athletic Board and Ira, we found out there wasn’t any money in the budget for us to [buy the jerseys], so we had to come up with a way to fund that process,” Einhorn said. “So I looked into it and I figured out that if we were able to find a way to have a giant fundraiser, we could fund the jerseys as well as make some extra money we could give to a charity in his name.”

Einhorn and Fausten hope to leave their jerseys, which say “Rhem” on the backs with the Okemos hockey team after they graduate to pass on to future members of the team.

The jerseys may become part of a longstanding tradition at Okemos, as the team plans to wear them for the future annual Suicide Awareness Games.

“The goal is to not have it just be a one and done type deal, the goal is to have [this event] continue to live on,” Einhorn said.

Many members and coaches of the opposing Capital City Caps, the opposing team, were close friends and teammates of David Rhem during the split season; so while the teams will still play their hearts out, nearly everyone on and off the ice will be thinking of David.

Friends, family and even those who didn’t know David personally are invited to celebrate his life and work to prevent others from cutting theirs short in the heartbreaking way he did.

“When you lose a child, you really don’t want him to be forgotten,” David’s mother, Sara Rhem said. “It is going to be a chance for the team and people who loved him to remember and honor him.”

With the proceeds from the game’s admission and the silent auction, David’s family hopes to help spread awareness about suicide and mental health in the community. At the game, there will be pamphlets about teen depression, suicide prevention, early detection and more.

“We hope this event can help enable others to not do this same thing,” David’s father, Marc Rhem said. “That it gives parents and teachers the tools to intervene.”

To show support for the cause, spectators are asked to wear the colors for suicide prevention, teal and blue, to what is expected to be an emotional night for everyone who knew and loved David.

“It’s hard for everyone involved… even running the fundraiser for me was amazing in one sense because I knew we were doing something really great and helping to shed light on a problem that we needed to, but at the same time it’s difficult because you’re constantly surrounded by what had happened,” Einhorn said.

Although it might hurt to bring up the memory of David Rhem’s suicide, the topic is important to talk about and can help prevent others from going down this path as well.

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Hockey team hosts second annual suicide awareness game