Champaign family works to prevent teen suicides following loss of son


Kim Bryan’s living room is filled with pictures of her son Sam. While the pictures were taken over the course of many years, one thing remains constant, his smile. 

“He was a very goofy kid. He always wanted to make other people laugh, make other people smile. He was very much kind of a class clown.” says Bryan. 

It was his carefree nature that made his suicide in 2016 come as such a tremendous shock to his friends and family. The death of the 19 year old Champaign Centennial High School graduate was extremely difficult on his entire family. However, they knew that being honest and open with people about his struggles would help them in the grieving process. 

“In his obituary, we said he died of suicide.” says Kim Bryan. “We felt it was important for people to know because he felt a lot of shame about that, he hid how he was feeling.  It was something that we really wanted to be open about.” 

It was that openness that led Kim and her family to start Rattle the Stars. It is a non-profit that works to prevent suicide in teens and young adults across Central Illinois. By traveling to local schools and community events to share Sam’s story, she hope it prompts other to seek help for themselves or others who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide. 

“It really gives us a purpose, gives us a mission. It is a way to have something come out of this, to be able to have a positive effect.” says Bryan. 

For more information about Rattle the Stars, you can visit their website. 

If you or someone you care about is dealing with thoughts of suicide, a number of resources exist at both the national and local level listed below. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline- (800) 273-8255 

Champaign Urbana Crisis Line- (217) 359-4141 

National Crisis Text Line- 741-741 

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