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Poker Tourney to Raise Funds for Suicide Awareness

"Out of the Darkness Overnight", a suicide-awareness walk in New York City, will take place in June 2007. To raise funds for the event, a poker tournament was organized by a couple who have had close contact with suicide victims.

The Kalamanzoo couple will be holding the poker tournament on Saturday, October 7th. Hank and Sarah Avink will be hosting the poker tournament at the Masinc Lodge, 4371 W. U. Ave., in Schoolcraft. Registration for the event begins at 4:30 p.m., people will begin to play poker at 5:30 p.m. The entry fee for the poker tournament is $50.

Hank Avink said that with the help of his wife, he came to see suicide 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."

Hank also said that he's learned about the warning signs of suicide. For instance, Sarah's father, who was on anti-depressants, tried to check himself into a Hastings-area hospital the day he committed suicide, but he was refused admittance.

The poker tournament is the second hosted by the Avinks. The first poker tournament the couple hosted was held in March. They managed to raise $1,000 for the benefit of the "Out of the Darkness Overnight" suicide awareness walk, which was held in San Francisco in June.


03/04/2007, Sunday
Todd Sanders

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