CLEWISTON -- Refuse to Sink, Inc., a Lake Placid nonprofit organization, will host its Annual Fundraiser Memorial Bass Tournament and Fish Fry Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 at Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina, 920 E. Del Monte Ave in Clewiston.
Pre-registration is available, but there is open registration starting at 5 a.m. at the Marina. The event will begin with first light, which Refuse to Sink President Abby Moya-Garcia said should be around 7 a.m.
A registration form is included in the sidebar.
From 9 a.m-11 a.m. there will be a 9/11 Tribute at the Marina.
The fundraiser will support efforts to bring mental health resources to rural communities including Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee counties.
“We chose this date because September is National Suicide Awareness Month and Sept. 5-11 is National Suicide Prevention Week,” Moya-Garcia said.
Donations will also support awareness and education for suicide prevention and destigmatizing mental health issues and there are many options to contribute to the cause including event sponsorships, t-shirt sales, a raffle and cash donations.
Moya-Garcia said suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more than 48,000 lives in 2018 alone, according to the National Alliance for Mental Illness. It is estimated that 135 people are significantly impacted by every suicide death. And an estimated 285,000 people become suicide survivors annually according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Refuse to Sink is a newly formed nonprofit organization in Lake Placid, created from the circumstances of the mutual survivorship of suicide losses of the creators’ family members.
Moya-Garcia said it was started as a healing journey after her son, JD Moss, lost his long and silent battle with mental health in 2018.
Refuse to Sink Vice President Marci VanD'Huynslager lost her husband, Max, to suicide in 2019. Max was a sargent with the Highlands County Sheriff's Office.
His death exemplifies the growing crisis of police suicide, which outpaces all line-of-duty deaths annually, highlighting a nationwide crisis of untreated stress, injury, and lack of mental health support in public safety professions.
“Max and JD did not know each other in life,” Moya-Garcia said. "There is no question that the intersection of their lives and stories are tied inextricably to their personal testimonies of faith, the tragedies of their deaths and the unique experiences of loss experienced by their surviving family members, loved ones and friends.”
She said Refuse to Sink is called to a mission to create change by providing resources and education and by reducing the stigma of sufferers so that more might seek help before reaching the crisis point of no return.
Donations to Refuse to Sink are tax deductible and designated exclusively for other nonprofit service providers who support mental health access in rural areas like the ones JD and Max lived in, loved and served in.
To date, Refuse to Sink has provided over 70 individualized services which includes crisis support and counseling to individuals in local communities.
“We believe we are limited only by the generosity of our supporters, and we are humbly asking you to stand with us and other survivors to be the catalyst of change in this mission,” she said.
For more information about mental health and suicide awareness and education, or about the upcoming tournament or to make donations, contact Abby Moya-Garcia at 863-233-9973 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.