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Party in the Park to raise awareness about depression

Published: Thursday, July 18, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Marmion Academy student Ben Wilkinson suffered from depression that nobody knew about.

Organizers of the Party in the Park event hope to educate the public about depression while raising money for Batavia-based Suicide Prevention Services of America. The event was started in 2011 after Wilkinson, 17, of Batavia, committed suicide.

“I never thought this would happen to someone I grew up with and knew like a brother,” said Mary Wolff, daughter of Batavia 2nd Ward Alderman Alan Wolff, in addressing aldermen Monday.

Party in the Park will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Batavia Riverwalk at Houston Street and North Island Avenue in downtown Batavia. The event will feature a 5K run/walk at 5 p.m. and a concert at 7 p.m.

More information is available at Party in the Park’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pitpcommunity.

Party in the Park organizers hopes more people will learn about depression through the event.

“We have lost three teenagers to suicide in the last three years,” organizer Emily Roberts told aldermen.

Party in the Park co-founder Ben Minnis said they are trying to encourage teens to get help if they need it.

“We want to give teens the right tools to fight their mental illness,” Minnis said.

In addition to Party in the Park, Suicide Prevention Services also will host its Here for Life! Walk at 9 a.m. Sept. 7 at Pottawatomie Park in St. Charles. More information is available by visiting www.spsamerica.org.

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