Scecina junior organizes fundraiser for suicide prevention, mental health

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Update: As of Sept. 3, Elijah had raised well above his goal. He has raised $7,600, which will be split between the AFSP and Local 416 Peer Support Fund.

By Beth Murphy, Director of Marketing Communications

Suicide prevention, mental health, and firefighting are issues close to the heart of Scecina junior Elijah Clegg.

Picture of Scecina junior Elijah Clegg in hallway

Junior Elijah Clegg, who lost a brother to suicide, has spearheaded a fundraiser with Indianapolis firefighters.

He lost his brother, Zac, to suicide. Zac was a freshman at another Catholic high school and Elijah was 10 at the time.

His dad, Steve Clegg, a 1990 Scecina graduate, is a firefighter.

Elijah decided this summer to create an event to raise money for those causes.

His first Cookout for Life will be from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, September 1, at Indianapolis Firefighters Local 416 Union Hall (748 Massachusetts Ave). He hopes to raise $1,000 to $1,500 to split between the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and Local 416 Peer Support Fund to help firefighters dealing with mental health or emotional issues.

Elijah knows the connection between mental health and suicide, which is why he’s raising money. Mental health, he said, “is something that needs attention all the time.”

“I want people to know what’s going on. There are people who are firefighters dealing with this, people who are dealing with depression or depressing thoughts,” he said.

After his brother’s death, suicide prevention became a major cause for his family, including his mom Amy (Montgomery) Clegg, Scecina Class of 1994. They organized a group, called Zac’s Amazing Crew, to walk in the AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Community Walk. The next walk in Indianapolis will be September 14 at White River State Park.

Elijah decided a barbecue was a great way to attract people for his causes.

“I was just at work and something smelled really good, and there were a lot of people gathering,” he said. “Something clicked to have a barbecue, and if I’m going to have that, I might has well have it for something good.”

Elijah has gotten support from the firefighting community. Firefighters will be grilling the hamburgers and hot dogs. The Emerald Society and Mike Manley, also a 1990 Scecina graduate and firefighter who owns the Irish Mutt, have donated to the barbecue.

Meals of hamburger or hot dog, chips and a drink will be $7 each. But you don’t have to eat. There also will be raffles and live music from The Roosters and Scecina’s Rock Band (Elijah’s a drummer in the band).

Elijah wants everyone to come and have a good time for a good cause.



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