Posted: Oct 16, 2012 11:43 PM
Updated: Oct 17, 2012 9:22 PM
A Lexington neighborhood is supporting a family coping with tragedy.
Tates Creek High School sophomore Stuart Shields took his own life last September. Now his family and neighbors hope to save a life by holding a fundraiser to raise awareness of teen suicide, which is the second leading cause of death among teenagers in Kentucky, according to the Cabinet of Health and Family Services.
Stuart Shields played lacrosse, and he was learning to play guitar. He was also interested in military history. Popular and friendly, he was only 16 when he died. Neighbors in the Meadowcreek Subdivision immediately reached out, bringing the Shields family meals.
"One night when I was leaving their house, my heart just broke. It absolutely broke for this family," says Kassie Bennett.
With a teenage son of her own, she took what happened to heart.
"My son, he had played with Stuart and he came home with a lot of questions that as a mother I wasn't ready to face, I didn't know how to face," Bennett says.
With the family's blessing. Bennett began organizing a fundraiser for the Stuart Shields Scholarship Fund. Half of the proceeds will help raise awareness and prevent teen suicide.
"It's time that we as a community stand up for our children and start talking about it," says Bennett.
The other half of the proceeds will help underprivileged youth afford to play sports, a cause the Shields family is passionate about.
On Saturday, Oct. 27 from 3-7 pm Fieldmoor Drive will be home to a block party to benefit the scholarship. Some Lexington restaurants have signed on, including Texas Roadhouse, Bluegrass Hospitality, and KFC. There will also be music and a silent auction. In addition, Dr. Hatim Omar, Director of Adolescent Medicine at the University of Kentucky Children's Hospital will speak.
If you would like to donate or participate in the block party, you can visit the "Celebrating the Life of Stuart" Facebook page, or donate to the Stuart Shields Scholarship Fund at the PNC Bank in Fayette County.