Poker tournament to raise money for suicide awareness — (MLive)

Original article no longer available


Thursday, October 05, 2006

By Stephanie Esters, 388-8554

NOTE:  The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and their Out of the Darkness Walk is a pharma-sponsored group that provide misleading information about suicide, and ignore the significant contribution of psychoactive medication.  – Ed

A Kalamazoo couple touched by suicide are planning a poker tournament Saturday to raise money for the “Out of the Darkness Overnight” suicide-awareness walk in New York City in June.

Hank and Sarah Avink are hosting the poker tournament at the Masonic Lodge, 4371 W. U Ave., in Schoolcraft. Registration starts at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, with play starting at 5:30 p.m. The entry fee is $50.

This is the Avinks’ second tournament. The couple raised $1,000 from the first poker tournament, in March, for the “Out of the Darkness Overnight” suicide-awareness walk in San Francisco in June, Sarah Avink said.

Hank Avink said his wife has helped him “see it as a disease.”

“My wife’s father committed suicide when she was 6, so it’s obviously close to our heart. And I actually grew up in the funeral home, seeing a lot of it myself,” Hank Avink said. “Almost everyone we know has been affected by it, but nobody talks about it.”

He said he’s also learned about warning signs; his wife’s father, for instance, who was on antidepressants, tried to check himself into a Hastings-area hospital the day he killed himself, but Hank said he was not admitted.

For information about the poker tournament, call 217-3016.

For information about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s “Out of the Darkness Overnight” walk, visit or