AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Amy Patheja and Pam Fischbach are two women on a mission to spread a message about mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
On January 21st they’re hosting the first ever “Aiken Black Tie Human Bingo” event.
It’s a fundraiser for Hope Mental Health America, and the event has already has seen plenty of support from the community.
Even though the event is already sold out, we wanted to bring the ladies out to talk about their mission, how it came about, and what their plans are for the future.
Tell us a little bit about your event and what it’s all about.
We are putting on Aikens first ever human Bingo, and we are going to have this at Woodside Country Club, it’s a fundraiser for suicide prevention, and we’re hoping to bring a program here for teens and college age adults in our community.
Why are you doing this?
Our kids went to school together and we’re each others family, and we have seen through our kids, five, six, seven losses from suicide in the past year of their friends. So together we decided there has to be a way we can help. So putting our heads together we decided to try and do a fundraiser, that would be fun to raise money for the cause.
What’s been the response from you doing this?
Overwhelming. We’ve had so many sponsors. We have well over fifty thousand dollars in sponsors and we haven’t even begun the event yet.
At the event human bingo will be played, so money will be made from that. Also presently we thirty raffles to do, so there will be a lot of money I’m sure to still be made for the event.
How important is for you to get your message out there?
It’s huge. In Aiken County we are the second leading county in South Carolina for suicides and primarily it’s middle aged adults, especially men, but we’re hoping that if we can take this on at a younger level, where the adolescents are and the teenagers are, and the college kids. Maybe we can give them some sort of education that will allow them to really be aware as they get older too.
So you plan to do more events like this in the future?
Yes, we’re already sold out, and we’re putting this in the schools, so the more money we can raise the more we can reach.
If people are trying to reach out to you where can they go?
They can go to our website, and they can send messages to us and contact us that way, there’s also an email on there as well.
What is Human Bingo?
It’s a floor sized Bingo board, and instead of normal markers, humans are going to be the markers and there are prizes for anyone who wins.
What do you hope comes from this event going forward in to the future?
Awareness, I definitely think that going around and talking to different people, and getting sponsorships and donations. What we have learned, people are not aware of. We just need to let people know this is a problem, it’s a big problem that we all need to take a part in and help.
Anything you want to say to the people who have helped make this event a success already?
Thank you, and it’s not just one person, I can not explain how overwhelming the outpour of love and support has been.
Anything you want to say before we go?
If you know anyone who you even suspect might be thinking about committing suicide contact someone, help them out.
Contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline if you are experiencing mental health-related distress or are worried about a loved one who may be in need of crisis support.