Family Loses Father and Son to Suicide as a Result of BullyingCarolyn Castiglia
My friend Robin Gelfenbien is a funny gal with a very serious mission: to stop bullying in schools. Gelfenbien was bullied – of all places – at college, and she’s written a hilarious solo show about it called, “My Salvation Has a First Name: A Weinermobile Journey.” The show details Gelfenbien’s summer of redemption on the road as an ambassador for Oscar Meyer, during which time she overcame her fear of the bullies who made her university experience a living hell.
The actress/activist has been sharing her anti-bullying message at schools across the country for about the last year. Somewhere along the way, she met Wanda and Kevin Jacobsen, who she describes as “passionate advocates of anti-bullying legislation, and two of the warmest and kindest people I’ve ever met.”
The Jacobsen’s lost their son, Kameron, to bullying-related suicide in January 2011, and spent the rest of the year fighting against bullying in schools. On The Huffington Post, Marlo Thomas writes, Kevin “spoke to a crowded room at the U.S. Department of Education at a bullying conference last fall” and “he roused them to a standing ovation.”
Unfortunately, Kevin was not able to withstand the grief of losing his son; he, too, committed suicide on January 7, 2012, just about a year after Kameron’s death.
Gelfenbien and others who know the family have set up a fund “to help Wanda and her two children through this incredibly trying time.” Gelfenbien says, “If you can contribute any amount (large or small), it will make a difference to this family who’s been through so much.” To make a donation, visit the Wanda Jacobsen Fund. To learn more about Kevin, Kameron and the Jacobsen’s anti-bullying efforts, you can watch Kevin’s performance at The Moth or visit the Kindness Above Malice (KAM) Foundation. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Wanda and her children during this very sad time. (On a related note: If, like me, you’ve experienced a suicide in your family, you can get help and support at The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.)
Photo: Robin Gelfenbien