SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT – Madison Losell’s Suicide Prevention Walk began as a high school senior project and has turned into a life-long passion of helping others.
“I just want to help people,” Losell said. “It’s something that I grew up knowing how to do … I like people. I like the community. I like helping.”
At 14 years old, Losell lost a close friend. She struggled with depression and didn’t feel as though she knew where to turn for help. While it started as a class project, Losell’s mission with the walk is to not only bring people together but offer resources for people like herself, who didn’t know where to turn.
Watching the event grow as the years went on has been encouraging to Losell, who admits she has learned new things each year about how to do better.
The 2020 walk would have been the fourth annual of its kind, she said. It was scheduled for April 18 and normally draws well over 100 people.
At the guidance of the South Side borough, Losell postponed the walk due to COVID-19. Eventually she decided to cancel the event for the year, not wanting to put undue burdens on business owners who would normally donate funds or gift baskets to the walk.
But making an impact and helping others is about much more than walks, donation drives or awareness plugs, she said.
“A lot of the time when we look at suicide prevention we look at the big picture,” Losell said. “When really it’s the kindness in the small things. It’s being nice to one another and making kind gestures.”
Especially now, she adds, it is vital for people to reach out to each other during these trying times of pandemic and social isolation.
“There are so many ways for you to prevent suicide in your own community,” she said.
Losell said she got her passion for helping others from her mom, who worked with juveniles on probation for years. She hopes to follow in her mother’s footsteps and work in a field that will help others and enhance community.
But the Suicide Prevention Walk won’t be ending anytime soon. Losell plans to bring it back in full force next year. She also hopes to get a job in this area and build a home in Lycoming County.
“We’ll have children and I will make them do it,” she laughed. “It’s not something you give up on. It’s worth it.”