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H.O.P.E. JR JAVIER's Team Page



Please watch this short video of my story

My name is Juanita. I am team captain of Team HOPE JR JAVIER. Our team motto is H.O.P.E. which stands for Hold On Pain Ends.

This upcoming Alive and Running will be my 5th event. The first event in 2013 was extremely difficult for me. My sunglasses did not leave my face. I cried and cried. During speeches before the run, I was just in a state of shock. I didn’t believe how many people this stigma hit home to. I wasn’t alone on how I was feeling.

I lost my stepfather who was my dad to me in year 2005. I am the one who found him. I can still re-play everything from that night step by step. My dad’s suicide had major impact on my family. My mom was a wreck because she suddenly just lost her soul mate. My brother couldn’t think straight but tried to put on his poker face for my mom and I. And as for me, I was crushed!! The last thing I did before losing my dad was get into a huge fight with him. I felt beyond guilty about my dad’s death. I can’t 100% say I still don’t feel a little bit of guilt.

Then in the Summer of 2012 I experienced another suicide in my family. My Brother who was literally my other half, took his own life! Not only was he my best friend, but my only father figure that was left. There was no indication he was depressed let alone sad. I spoke to him just 2 days prior and we had made plans to go to an Art Walk the following weekend. But on June 5th, something in my gut told me I just lost a big part of me. Something just wasn’t right, something was wrong and I didn’t know what. I texted my brother a good morning text and never got a response. That was not like him, especially with me. My brother and I literally talked DAILY thru phone, text or in person. I drove straight to his house after work. I rang the bell over and over again. I banged on the door til my hands got red. Still no answer. A Neighbor of his noticed that the upstairs window was unlocked. I gave him permission to go inside. When I heard the words, “ I don’t know how to tell you this,” chills ran down my arms. I fell to the ground and began to cry. I already knew. I begged for his neighbor to say he was just passed out drunk. But that was not the case, my brother and best friend; a bright and spirited person was gone for good.

Everyone grieves differently. But these are the steps that I have gone thru so far
• Denial: “This can’t be happening to me or someone in my life.”
• Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
• Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
• Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
• Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”
I am still struggling with the “acceptance” part. But being a part of the 5k Alive and Running for Suicide Prevention by Didi Hirsch has made it a little bit easier. Hearing other people’s stories and seeing how brave they are to tell their story makes me want to do the same. Everyone going thru this stigma, whether they lost someone to suicide or are the one dealing with suicidal thoughts are not alone. I can honestly say without hesitation that yes I have been in both shoes. I have lost 2 people dearly to suicide and have also been the one who has thought about it.

If you knew my brother, my dad or me; you would have never thought we were “that kind of person”. But there is no “that kind”. people everywhere have experienced some sort of depression & well some have just reached their breaking point. It’s nothing you expect, nothing you wish upon. I’ll tell you this though; if you notice even the SLIGHTEST bit of change in behavior, put yourself out there…lend a hand, a smile, a hug! Just the littlest thing CAN brighten someone’s whole day! I hope someday my story can let people know they are not alone! <3 I never expected to lose 2 people so close to my heart before and I wouldn’t wish this pain upon anyone. Again this will be my 5th Alive and Running event. I encourage people to come and support this event and help erase this stigma. You will hear and read so many heartfelt stories. They aren’t meant to make you feel sad, but to help you see signs in our loved ones that the people telling the story didn’t see until it was to late.

Juanita Benitez
  • JBJayden Benitez
  • JBJazmin Benitez
  • GBGenaro Benitez
  • PFPearl Franz
  • JFJohn Franz
Gabriela De Leon
  • JDJorge De Leon
Jorge Maldonado
  • MVMayra Villalobos
  • KVKeira Vandermolen


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1. MFMayra Florian
2. GDGabriela De Leon
3. JDJorge De Leon
4. GDGabriela De Leon
5. mpMoises Ponce
6. DDean
Thank you for running again this year! Still love the team message of H.O.P.E. See you there.........cheers Dean