‘Let It Shine 5k’ hosted in memory of teen who died by suicide

Published: Sep. 24, 2023 at 5:01 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - As National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month continues, family and friends remembered a teen who died by suicide in a 5k race on Sept. 24.

“To know his resilience, and his joy and his love. He was just a special guy,” the youth minister of First Baptist Church of Columbus, Daniel Potter, said.

14-year-old Sims Vickers took his life on March 26, 2022. He died the next day.

Now a year and a half later, Vickers friend Abby Jones and members of the First Baptist Church of Columbus, the church he attended, hosted the ‘Let it Shine 5k’ to shed light on who the teen was.

“There was nowhere he rather be but church. He loved church, he loved football. Anything he loved he was doing it all day everyday,” Jones said.

However, they also wanted to decrease the stigma behind mental health and suicide.

“We invited each person to turn to a neighbor and say I need help, and I’m not okay,” Potter said. “But we want people to practice saying, I’m not okay. I need help to normalize it,” Potter said.

At 8:30 a.m. a memorial service was held giving space for Vickers parents to speak before the race, and following the ceremony, the 5K began.

Some participants walked while others ran at full force in memory of Vickers, to show support to his family and to help raise awareness.

After all the contestants crossed the finish line, first, second, and third place medals were given to the winners in each age group.

Finally, a special medal with Vickers handwriting and his favorite Bible verse was given to the family.

Vickers father shared how he felt seeing the event come together.

“I was overwhelmed with joy and emotion knowing that my son he’s smiling down, and he’s happy with our efforts,” Jedd Vickers said.