KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- You matter: That message really hit home with one North Kansas City baseball team and one family.
"It comes as a shock even now, I guess, because I would have never imagined it being so young," 20-year-old Parker Mullins said.
Mullins grew up playing baseball with his older brother, Alex. On Monday, he returned to Community America Ballpark for the first time. It's the field where the brothers shared one his favorite memories in 2014 as members of the Northtown Hornets.
“I hit a ball, and I thought I hit a home run, and it ended up bouncing off the wall, and my brother barely scored to win the game," Parker recalled.
Just two years later, Alex took his own life. His suicide still has an impact on the team and school today.
The team's diamond club raised more than $500 raffling off items, including a Kansas City Chiefs mini-helmet signed by Patrick Mahomes and a 2014 World Series baseball to benefit FOX4’s You Matter, an awareness program that recognizes the struggles many people face. It encourages people who know those having mental health challenges to step in and be an advocate, seeking professional help. It’s aimed at preventing suicide and the stigma that often accompanies it.
"We`re just trying to bring more awareness to suicide prevention, especially the teens that are struggling, let them know that there is somebody out there let them know there is someone who cares," Diamond Club President Diane Sexton said.
“He didn't want anybody dealing with his problems. A lot of people bottle it up and then it hits them. I wish people would really just open up and know that people are there to help and its no inconvenience," Parker said.
Parker, a longtime catcher took the mound for the game's first pitch, the position his brother usually played. He delivered a perfect strike for Alex.
"To throw it out in his honor, in his name, means a lot to me," Parker said.
Suicide Help Information
If you are having suicidal thoughts, we urge you to get help immediately. No matter your financial situation, there is help available. Please seek help if you or someone you know is suffering.
Go to a hospital, call 911 or call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
Click on the boxes below for our FOX 4 You Matter reports and other helpful phone numbers and resources.