Teenager's suicide inspires an Idaho family to help stop the epidemic

Posted at 9:33 PM, Apr 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-28 00:03:54-04

It's being called the greatest health crisis in our country. It takes the lives of hundreds of Idahoans and the statistics keep going up every year. It's also the second leading cause of death for teenagers. The growing plight is suicide.

6 On Your Side is on a mission over the next month to bring light to a very dark subject.

The following is a story of resilience and hope even after tragedy.

On the outside, Camille Freese seemed like just another typical teenager, she loved to dance, spend time with friends and her close knit family.

"Camille was a straight a student. She was on point ballet. She was beautiful. She had friends," said Melissa Freese, Camille’s mother. "I was a stay at home mom. We went to church. We were trying to do everything they tell you to do to raise a healthy child."

Shortly after Camille’s 13th birthday, the child with a seemingly bright future, killed herself.

An act Camille’s family never saw coming and left them devastated.

"It was the furthest thing from our mind,” said Cory Freese, Camille’s father.

"For the longest time I would just push it away and say I don't want to deal with this," said Collin Freeze, Camille’s Brother.

While at first Collin had trouble coming to terms with the loss of his younger sister, with time and counseling he grew stronger and ready to share his story of dealing with tragedy.

“It's a touchy subject that everyone doesn't want to bring up. But for me I enjoy bringing it up because it touches people's hearts. And I know it’s something that need to be brought up as well,” said Collin.

The 17 year old Meridian High School honors student is not only raising money and awareness for suicide prevention, he is also reaching out directly to other teenagers who are thinking about harming themselves.
His message behind his commitment to raise awareness and funding is simple, "to save a life."

"The key to all of this is just love," Collin said. 

Collin's parents love the idea and also see it as therapeutic.

"I think this is probably one of Collin's ways of dealing with grief,” said Cory.

"I always thought our family would be used in some way to bring good or a difference and I thought it would be more us. But with this and his passion, I realized maybe it’s going to be him,” said Melissa.

Not a day goes by the Freese family does not think about Camille and wonder why? 

However with no way to get answers to their questions, they pray sharing their story will keep other families from experiencing their same pain.

That is some they believe Camille would have wanted.

"She would have been a freshman. She would have been with Collin at school. And we always talked about them carpooling together. What would she be doing now had she weathered the storm?" says her mother.

If you would like to show your support for suicide prevention, plan to attend the To Save A Life Run/Walk this Saturday, April 29th at Meridian High School. The event kicks off at 1 p.m. All proceeds go to Suicide Prevention Action Network in Idaho.