Suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. About 50% of people in the United States know someone who has died by suicide. My family is included in that last statistic: we are survivors of the suicide of my brother, Jim. He killed himself in May 2011 two months after my dad passed away. A dear friend of mine recently lost a childhood friend to suicide and I shared with her how death by suicide made me feel. Remember when you were little and you skinned your knee and it hurt like hell? It bleeds a lot, you can’t seem to find a bandage big enough to stay on your knee so it keeps coming off. Then you bump the wound and it re-opens. It takes forever to heal only to leave a scar you see every time your shave your legs. That’s how I feel about suicide. It’s a deep, raw, painful loss full of unanswered questions and guilt.

Jim and Missy in Red River, New Mexico

Though twelve years older than me, Jim and I had a special bond. When my mother would do her nightly check of the house before retiring to bed, if she didn’t find me in my crib, she’d peek into Jim’s room and hear him talking to me. He loved bringing me into his bedroom at night while he studied or listened to records. I suppose he liked having me near. I remember the smell of musk-scented incense on his desk and watching the circling cloud of smoke floating out over the room. He’d tell me about the Beatles, pointing to each band member on the posters on the wall above his bed. His second-floor bedroom faced a grove of Oak trees that made me feel like we slept in a treehouse. I’d stand at the window sill and watch the squirrels jump from tree to tree, and the Blue Jays loudly jeer at the squirrels’ rambunctiousness. Looking at old photographs, Jim was always the sibling holding me up on his shoulders or sitting in the backseat reading to me during family vacations.

Jim and Missy in the pool.

A few years ago I hosted a fundraiser biscuit challenge of my recipe against JoAnna Gaines’ biscuit recipe. The ticket price included all the biscuits and mimosas you could eat. Everyone gathered at my home for a blind tasting of the biscuits and named my recipe the winner!  We raised over $700 for the Tarrant County chapter of the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI). It was a beautiful gathering of guests lifting up the lives of loved ones lost to suicide.  It’s very important to me to continue doing what I can to save lives and prevent families from hurting.

So, in honor of my birthday and September being National Suicide Awareness Month, I am hosting a Pilates and Pop Fundraiser for NAMI of Tarrant County! I am a member at Club Pilates Waterside and asked the owner, Sarah Millwee, if I could rent the studio for a fundraiser. When Sarah heard my story, she immediately agreed to support me and waived the fee because she wants 100% of the funds we raise to go straight to NAMI! Even if you don’t want to try Pilates or you’re already a member of a Pilates studio, there is still a way to participate.

Friday, August 27, 5:30 p.m. Club Pilates Waterside, 5924 Convair Drive Suite 448, Fort Worth, TX 76109.

Option One:  $25 donation to attend ONLY the reception from 5:30 – 6 p.m.  Enjoy Prosecco and soda pop, meet other survivors of suicide, and take part in a special group photo. For Option One register here: Reception only NO class

Option Two: $40 donation to attend the reception AND stay for a Level One Reformer Class (class time is 6 -7 p.m.).  Hurry for this option because there are only 12 spaces. For Option Two register here: Reception and Class

Option Three: One-time donation of your choosing. This is a great option if you want to support me if you’re not local or available to attend the event. For Option Three register here: Donation Only (no reception/no class).

100% of the donations will be paid directly to NAMI the week following the event. My goal is $1,000.  We can all prevent suicide. Evidence shows that providing support services, talking about suicide, reducing access to means of self-harm, and following up with loved ones are just some of the actions we can all take to help others. Suicide is not inevitable for anyone. By starting the conversation, providing support, and directing help to those who need it, we can prevent suicides and save lives. #NotAlone

For resources and more information here are helpful links:


Suicide Prevention Lifeline

American Foundation of Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Note: If you prefer to mail a check to me, please email [email protected]