This gay athlete hopes to raise $10,000 in honor of his best friend lost to suicide

Josh Velasquez is a 21-year-old senior pursuing a degree in neuroscience and cognitive behavior at the University of Arizona. Six years ago, he lost his best friend to suicide. Now, the former high school swimming champ hopes to honor his friend’s memory, Outsports reports.

“In 2011, my best friend, Aaron, became another suicide statistic,” Josh says. “Like others, Aaron felt that no one understood him or his place in the world. He thought it would be best if he was no longer around. It destroyed everyone that knew him.”

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Josh is preparing to run in a half-marathon in Long Beach, CA next month. The marathon will raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. He’s set up a fundraising page and hopes to raise $10,000 by October 8. So far, he’s raised just over $2,000.

Josh came out earlier this year in a joint coming out story with fellow swimmer Axel Reed and published by Outsports . He spoke candidly about being sexually abused as a child and his struggles with depression.

“Last year I was really struggling with what happened to me as a kid,” Josh told OutSports. “Last November, something happened on campus that triggered a memory, and with school being hard I fell into deep depression.”

Related: LGBTQ People Far More Likely To Suffer From Mental Health Issues, Study Claims

Sadly, Josh’s experiences are not that uncommon. A 2016 study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness found that LGBTQ people, teens especially, are three times as likely to suffer from certain mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD often as a result of being bullied and abused.

Read Josh’s touching Instagram post about his friend…

h/t: Outsports

Source: This gay athlete hopes to raise $10,000 in honor of his best friend lost to suicide


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