Jamie Wilson was a beautiful, warm and compassionate 21-year-old who was close to her family and kind to her coworkers. Growing up on a Wisconsin farm, she loved animals, hunting and bluegrass music.
But according to her mother Kelly Wilson, Jamie constantly battled feelings of deep sadness, and the perception that she wasn’t pretty or that others didn’t like her. “She’d say, I’m not depressed, Mom, just sad. I don’t know why,” Kelly remembers.
At one point, Jamie planned to take her own life, but decided against it because she didn’t want to upset her family. Kelly says her daughter received professional help and seemed to be doing well. Despite that, Jamie lost her battle against depression on Aug. 14, 2009.
Although overwhelmed with shock over their loss, the family decided to donate Jamie’s tissue and eyes. Kelly learned how tissue saves and enhances lives as she moved through the donation process. “I was so grateful,” she says. “Tissue donation made us feel we could keep her alive and someone else can benefit. It was comforting to know that it was an option.”
In addition to donation, Kelly and her family also has taken up the cause of suicide prevention and awareness. In memory of Jamie’s love for bluegrass music, friends and family put on a fund-raising event that featured bluegrass bands and other activities. The $65,000 raised from the event benefited the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and its research, education and advocacy efforts.
“It’s important people are educated so they can help prevent suicide,” Kelly says. “We want people to know that there is help available. There is an answer.”