FORT SMITH, Ark. — A Fort Smith mother is in the middle of a two-week stay in Hawaii, but it's not your typical trip to paradise. This trip was made to bring awareness to youth suicide prevention.
Bridget Brinkman spent the last week walking the perimeter of the island of Maui— 164 miles plus some. Brinkman lost her son Crey to suicide a few years ago, which led her to another Fort Smith native Chad Starr who lost his daughter to suicide.
"Chad and his family moved to Oahu and he did a perimeter hike around Oahu last March to raise awareness for youth suicide, and when he announced he was going to do Maui, I messaged him and I said, 'I’m going to come with you.'"
Brinkman says her hike with Chad was simply a way to tell people suicide is not the answer.
"Us getting out there and talking to people gives them an outlet to talk, to even the guy who drove me to get my rental car this morning. I told him what we are doing and he said, 'I had suicide ideas when I was in high school and it's really important what you guys are doing.'"
Bridget says she met hundreds of people during her hike and all had the same situation in their lives.
"Every single person that we connected with has been affected by suicide in some way and I feel like some people, especially some of the older people in the more rural areas, they maybe never had anyone to talk to about it."
She says the memory of her son was with her every step of the way.
"When I lost him, it was kinda a whole new life for me because it was just me all by myself. And so, for me to able to come and prove it to myself that I can walk alone in the world and make a difference in other people’s lives and use his story and his memory to hopefully better their lives... I don’t know. It’s just rewarding."
Download the 5NEWS app on your smartphone:
Stream 5NEWS 24/7 on the 5+ app: How to watch the 5+ app on your streaming device
To report a typo or grammatical error, please email KFSMDigitalTeam@tegna.com and detail which story you're referring to.