Clarion County Suicide Prevention Coalition Welcomes Mason’s Warriors
(Photo: Shaley Shick, Lexi Shick, Janet Mangel, chair of Clarion County Suicide Prevention Coalition, Alyssa Burns, and Anna Burns.)
On Thursday morning, August 15, the Burns family – consisting of Shaley Shick, Lexi Shick, Alyssa Burns, and Anna Burns – addressed the Clarion County Suicide Prevention Coalition to talk about their experiences after their cousin suddenly passed away passed. They also presented the coalition with a contribution.
“Myself, along with my sisters Alyssa Burns and Amanda Switzer and my cousins Brody, Shaley, and Lexi Schick, decided that we wanted to find a way that we could help others who were just like our cousin, Mason Burns,” Anna Burns said.
“In honor of Mason, we created Mason’s Warriors. Mason was an outgoing, loving, and cheerful person. He always put people before himself and had the sweetest soul. When Mason committed suicide, it was a huge shock to our family, and to this day, it still has shaken us up.”
The cousins said with Mason’s Warriors they hope to help other people who are just like Mason.
“People with mental illness may not seek help, and they may not show symptoms, they may not act like their normal selves in front of everyone,” Anna Burns said. “Behind closed doors, they are scared, they are broken, and they are struggling.”
As cousins of someone who committed suicide, they struggle every day with knowing they weren’t able to save their loved one who was defeated by the constant battle, according to the cousins.
“Starting Masons Warriors has given us hope and the hope that we will be able to save some lives by allowing people to know there is help out there and that we are out there to help others,” Anna Burns said. “Another reason for starting Mason’s Warriors is to show families that have been in our situation, or that sadly, may be in our position someday, but we are right there with them. We are there to support them and grief with them. I can personally say that suicide leaves you with an unimaginable feeling, a feeling that no one should ever go through.
“I took about a week off of school, and upon return, it was like I was a ghost. Everyone stared at me, but no one knew what to say. I don’t want anyone to feel like that. My family and I want to be there for the people affected, we want to show our respect and help them in every way we can. As we are still in the dark after (our) cousin has left us, we hope that Mason’s Warriors shines some light down on us and help save the lives of others.”
Anna Burns said that the cousins have raised $1,674.00 and that 580 people are Mason’s Warriors.
Mason Lewis Burns of Clarion made his final curtain call and took a final bow in Slippery Rock on December 12, 2018, at 18 years of age. Mason was born on April 15, 2000, the son of Susan A. Eshbaugh-Schmader and Robert V. Burns, Jr. He was enrolled as a student at Slippery Rock University and was a 2018 honors graduate of Keystone High School.
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