BESSEMER, Ala. – For many living in the south, racing is a way of life. This Saturday, racing can potentially save a life.

The Racing for Awareness campaign, founded by Pelham native Joey Gattina, will take to the track at Autobahn Indoor Speedway in Bessemer. Its purpose is to bring awareness to something that affects many families around the world each day: suicide.

Gattina is a racer in both the ARCA and NASCAR racing series and started the group after he lost his grandfather to suicide at a young age. “I know firsthand how suicide can affect someone and that hurt stays with you for life,” said Gattina.

Now with the support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, he can take the fight head-on. Each month, his Racing for Awareness campaign will host a variety of special events geared towards suicide awareness, knowledge and prevention. Recently, Gattina was able to work with the founding members of Mission 22, who confront veteran suicide issues. Now, the two campaigns are teaming up for the fight.

Studies show suicide is more of a problem than most realize. Signs of an individual go unnoticed which causes even more of an issue as individuals who ask for help are ignored. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, here are some overall numbers from the United States in 2015:

  • In 2015 suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Every year 44,193 Americans die from suicide, that means 121 suicides occur each day in the United States.
  • For every suicide there are 25 attempts.
  • Suicide costs the United States $44 Billion each year.

The nationwide numbers are staggering but in our own state of Alabama, the numbers are worse. Alabama ranks 24th out of the United States for suicide. For more information visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Tomorrow’s event will start at 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. It includes a media race with several members of the local broadcasting community entered into a special race and 25% of proceeds will go straight to the Alabama chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Simply bring a copy of the flyer in this article or show the flyer on your phone when you check in at Autobahn to help the cause.

You can find out more about Racing for Awareness including future events and dates by visiting Racing for Awareness online or by visiting on Facebook under Racing for Awareness.

Dustin Harmer for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.