By Ann Charlotte, William's Mom
Three years ago, our family lost a dynamic, creative, loving young man with enormous promise. Along with the usual insecurities that seem to plague teenagers, our William was also bravely, silently struggling with a mental illness that we didn't identify until it was too late. The stigma of mental illness that society has maintained for so much of modern history is at the core of this tragedy. My grandfather took his life when my mother was three years old. The story in the family was always that he suffered from alcoholism. At 32-years-old, it seems more likely that there was a serious underlying issue that has cropped up again two generations later. If we treated mental illness more like physical illness, maybe we would have known to take more extensive steps when the first signs appeared. The mission of A WILL TO SURVIVE was to peel open this topic within the population that has suddenly become most vulnerable to it and reveal to the thousands of teens that saw it and identified with something they saw on stage that they are not alone in their struggles. I am proud to have taken a small part.