Arizona mom creates suicide awareness foundation in son's name
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
LeAnn Hull has a tattoo of her son's signature on her arm.
"Andy's nickname was sunshine for a reason," she said. "It really depicted his personality."
Andy Hull, 16, was by all accounts, a normal, well-adjusted high school baseball player.
That is why Hull believes nothing will explain what led to the unimaginable day last December when Andy left school early, went home and shot himself in his bedroom.
"It's not something that ever happens to your kid. It's something you read about that happens to someone far away in another state. Somebody else's," Hull adds.
She didn't have a lot of time to grieve or fall apart, she said, because all of Andy's friends started showing up at her house almost immediately. That outpouring of love and support is what Hull says motivated her to start talking about his suicide and figure out how to keep it from happening to someone else.
"If Andy could do this, how many other kids are out there and no one's talking about it," she said.
Hull created Andy Hull's Sunshine Foundation, to raise awareness and prevention of suicide. The foundation slogan is, ‘You Matter.'
"That's the whole focus of our foundation is that ‘you matter' to someone, to your mom, to your teacher, to someone," she said.
That message is what Hull delivered, along with 3,000 yellow ‘You Matter' bracelets to students and faculty at Andy's Phoenix, Arizona high school.
"Every crisis that a kid faces, to them, whether it's a prom date not showing up, they wrecked the family car, they failed a class, to them it is life and death. That's how they view these experiences," she adds.
Hull spoke to school district administrators recently about the important role she believes they also play in a student's life, telling them, "You really hold in some instances, life and death in how you respond."
Leann praises Sandra Day O'Connor High School where Andy attended, for allowing her to continue the dialogue while still honoring her son's memory.
Adjacent to the baseball field where Andy was a promising pitcher is a tree that the school let Hull plant, along with a plaque that bears Andy's name.
It's a place she hopes people will use to remember his life and his death.
"I want them to share the life and vibrancy and the sunshine of Andy but also it's an opportunity for you to share how he died and to tell them that they matter, and it's really important for them to not make that same decision."