Local nonprofit’s mental health awareness efforts reach all the way to Minnesota through small rock

You Matter

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A local nonprofit’s effort to save lives crosses state lines.

Carl’s Cause aims to bring awareness to mental health and suicide prevention. Now, their positive messes has traveled from Kansas, all the way to a Minnesota golf course. 

A small rock helped save the life of a heavy heart.

“I absolutely think it’s a miracle,” Carl’s sister Megan Shepherd said.

At the annual golf tournament, Carl’s Cause handed out rocks with painted messages of hope on the front and their website on the back. 

Carl died by suicide in 2017.

“When we lost Carl, obviously we were absolutely devastated, but we also wanted to figure out how we could help other people,” Shepherd said.

She and her patents founded the nonprofit that works to combat the stigma surrounding mental illness and connect people with resources. 

A Carl’s Cause rock from Kansas would reached a woman from North Dakota who was golfing in Minnesota. 

Her battles went beyond the green though. Danette Hauser struggles with depression and anxiety. 

“And it does poison our thoughts, our feelings and our joy in life and it was definitely doing all those things to me at that time,” Hauser, who Found Carl’s Cause rock twice, said.

While looking for her ball, she found the rock. 

Hauser said she had intentions to take her own life that Sunday night. At the time, finding the message of hope didn’t change her course of action, but it made an imprint on her mind. 

Then, the next day golfing on a completely different course, “I ended up near the rock again,” Hauser said smiling. 

She calls it divine intervention, and after 25 years of struggling by herself, she decided to open up to a friend. 

“I said, ‘I need help because if I go home, I’m not going to be here tomorrow.’ And I shared my feelings and that I had planned on ending my life for a couple months at that point,” Hauser said.

She got help and continues treatment. She send Shepherd’s family a thankful email — unknowingly on what would have been Carl’s 31st birthday.

“It brought me to tears,” Shepherd said. “This is a very isolating time with COVID. There’s a lot of anxiety and stress. But people care and you are worth it.”

Carl was driving a miracle, Shepherd believed.

“I just wanted to thank them because had I not came across that I wouldn’t be around to thank them,” Hauser said. “My family was going to end up having to be hurt and heart ache and emptiness, the same they struggle with that, and why they started the organization.”

Hearing Carl’s story gave Hauser a second shot at life with friends and her 18-year-old son.

“I know I have a greater purpose than I ever thought before and it took me finding my darkest hour to God and Carl bringing me out of it and opening my eyes,” Hauser said.

She hopes to get rid of the stigma and encourages everyone to feel comfortable getting help.

Hauser plans to attend next year’s golf tournament – making her way from North Dakota to Overland Park, Kansas.

This year, Carl’s Cause raised $60,000. They’re donating it to the University of Kansas Health System.

Please remember, You Matter. If you need to talk right now, call 1-866-WARM-EAR or 913-281-2251. or visit FOX4KC.com/youmatter.

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