Walkathon in Memory of Erika Neuckranz
NEWS Walkathon to Event is in memory of young suicide By Brian L. Cox Special to the Tribune Erika's Lighthouse, started after the suicide of Erika Neuckranz, an eighth-grader eighth-grader eighth-grader at Carleton Washburne School in Win-netka, Win-netka, Win-netka, will celebrate 10 years of "blasting the stigma surrounding teen depression" on Sunday with a walkathon at Hubbard Hubbard Woods Park in Win-netka. Win-netka. Win-netka. "She struggled with depression depression for about a year and a half, and unfortunately unfortunately took her life as a result of her depression," said Heather Steward Freed, the organization's director of programming and communications. "Her parents, Tom and Jenny, Teenagers participate in last are the founders of Erika's Lighthouse. They're still very involved." The organization directs programs toward schools, promote good year's Erika's Lighthouse Rock & teachers, parents, physicians physicians and other health care professionals, and teens themselves, she said. "Although we're a de ERIKA'S LIGHTHOUSE PHOTO Rally Walkathon. pression organization and our mission is to raise awareness around it, the walk is a very positive, high energy, happy fun day," mental Steward Freed said. "This is a tough topic, but the event is really all about fun. We expect people of all ages, parents, older adults, a ton of kids, pets. It's a community event. It's a celebration." The 10th annual Rock & Rally Walkathon is from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday The two-mile two-mile two-mile walk route will wind around commercial and residential areas of Win-netka, Win-netka, Win-netka, and along the route, signs will be posted with facts and hopeful messages about mental health, depression depression and how to get help. The event will include live music and a raffle. Registration is $20. Participants Participants receive a T-shirt, T-shirt, T-shirt, a raffle ticket for a variety of prizes, and lunch. "After the walk, there's a group rally, and teen volunteers volunteers will talk to the group about the importance of good mental health and educate the group on different different facts of depression," health Steward Freed said. For the past nine years, the walk has been in the spring, but Steward Freed said the organization decided decided to move it to the fall this year. "With it being the beginning beginning of the school year, we want students to step into the school year with good mental health," she said. "It's just energizing kids in a different way." She said the importance of having an organization like Erika's Lighthouse in the community cannot be underestimated. "When teens feels like there's no way out, that's when suicide happens," she said. '"We believe if Erika had had this education in her school, which is what we do, she might still be here. "This is why we do what we do," she said. "We believe in it wholeheartedly. wholeheartedly. We know it helps a lot of kids."