February 1-7 is National Gun Violence Survivors Week. Join us to honor survivor voices.

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Mark Alan Smith, my only birth child, an answer to prayers, completed suicide on October 4, 1992, at the age of 27. He had purchased the gun and shot himself on September 30, my birthday. Mark signed for his surgery, lived until his brain swelled, stopped breathing and was put on a ventilator. Remembering my prayers, his organs were donated. The heart recipient lived 25 years (last check).

Because Mark was a talented singer (toured with the SOS Band), songwriter (copyrighted songs), percussionist (at Ben Hill UMC) and leader (honor grad and president of his high school class and freshman class at then Clark College), I have used his life to help others. I am cofounder of NOPCAS (suicide awareness group), facilitator for a support group, scholarship fund at CAU (from which I am retired), speaker, etc. Emphasis on suicide prevention, clinical depression, mental illness and recently gun violence.

Left with no children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, I have a desire to tell my story. Mark is remembered, missed and loved by me, family, and friends. He was a believer, so he is at rest.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.

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