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Suicide awareness fundraiser in Carnegie off to good start

| Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

An inaugural fundraiser held in Carnegie to benefit suicide awareness raised about $2,000.

More than 150 people attended Allyn Lewis' fundraiser, “La Nuit Noire,” on Jan. 25 at Cefalo's Banquet and Event Center. Lewis had created the event to increase awareness of suicide and its prevention. She chose the date in memory of her father's birthday, Jan. 23. He committed suicide when she was 18 years old.

She plans to make this fundraiser an annual event.

“All day, I worried,” she said, watching the weather. “Some just stopped by, but that's what I get for holding the event in January.”

She said she will donate the proceeds to the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Foundation of Suicide Survivors, an international nonprofit group founded in 1987. Ticket prices ranged from $100 to $250.

“It's not where I wanted it to be, but it was still good,” she said of the fundraiser.

In developing the event, Lewis said she was touched by the e-mails she received and the stories that people shared.

“Even people who were close to me opened up,” Lewis said.

And just a few weeks after the event, she's hearing from those who now have a new understanding of troubled minds.

“I've been planning it for so long. I'm so glad it's leaving an impression.”

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or ddreeland@tribweb.com.

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