Family remembering son by trying to spread awareness - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Family remembering son by trying to spread awareness

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According to the American Foundation on Suicide, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. On November 5, 2016 it impacted a local Tri-State family.

17-year old Stephen Woolums was just like many other high school aged kids.

"He did cross country, he did track, I think he tried soccer, loved water sports," said Allison Rosenkranz, one of his three sisters.

"Stephen was a hard worker, he was very polite, smiled a lot, he loved to help others," said Stephen Woolum's, his father.

But just like many battling depression, he didn’t show it on the surface. On November 5, 2016 he took his own life. His entire family has struggled with depression. But as they hold onto the memories of their son and brother they want his life to serve as a reminder to talk to friends and family more, always checking in with them.

"It is okay to be wrong if you misinterpret their signs. It is not okay to miss those signs and up with the tragedy that we had," said his father.

On November 6, 2016 they met with Huntington resident John Buckland to record a discussion for a DVD he’s putting together called, Turn Pain Into Power. It’s their way of remembering their son and brother.

"The way that I'm coping, the way that my family is coping is knowing Stephen's heart, knowing that he’s wanted to help people," said his sister.

They’re working to do just that. Surrounded by community members and friends at a vigil on the same Cabell Midland track Stephen ran on, they shared that same message.

"I want to help others, I want to to use his life as an example. I want to celebrate his life, and try to prevent others from ending the way he did," said his father.

One of the most powerful things Stephen's father said at the vigil was that his family wants to take a message, take a tragedy and send a message hat it's not weak to talk about problems and that you can never go wrong being too cautious.

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