Didi Hirsch Hosts 17th Annual Alive & Running 5K Walk/Run for Suicide Prevention

Didi Hirsch dedicated its 17th Annual Alive & Running 5K Walk/Run on Sept. 27 to Dr. Norman L. Farberow, 97, who died earlier in the month from complications from a fall. With more than 2,100 participants and volunteers, the record-breaking event held near Los Angeles International Airport raised about $325,000 for the agency’s Suicide Prevention Center, which was co-founded by Dr. Farberow and was the first in the nation.

“When Dr. Farberow started the Suicide Prevention Center almost 70 years ago, suicide was a taboo subject,” said Didi Hirsch President/CEO Dr. Kita S. Curry. “Today more than 62,000 people a year call our crisis line.  We want everyone in terrible psychological pain to ask for help, just like they would if they had a broken leg.”  

Tom Kenny, the actor and comedian who is the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants and Ice King from Adventure Time, emceed the event, which he described as “a mixture of triumph and tragedy and letting people tell their stories so others don’t have to suffer the same thing.”

“It is still amazing to me how suicide can happen without warning,” said Kenny, who lost a friend to suicide last year. “You might say, ‘How could his loved ones not see the signs?’ But people get very good at hiding their pain.”

Kenny demonstrated how to he creates SpongeBob’s signature laugh and described silliness as “a superpower—better than x-ray vision” for bringing a smile or a moment of joy to people who are hurting.

Alive & Running is a family-friendly event that celebrates life while remembering those lost to suicide and promoting Didi Hirsch’s life-saving suicide prevention services.  It included a memory tree where people could hang paper leaves with messages to loved ones lost to suicide, a Kiddie K and an EXPO with massages, balloons, Copenhagen Pastry treats, Kind Bars and water bottles from East-West Bank.