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Tooele family celebrates, honors son who died by suicide

Posted at 4:20 PM, Feb 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-17 16:06:09-05

TOOELE, Utah — Two years after a 12-year-old boy died by suicide, the Tooele community he called home continues to honor his memory.

Samie and Andrew Hardman can never forget the day their son, Drayke, took his life.

“I would never ever want anybody, even my worst enemy, to feel the pain that I have to feel every day,” explained Samie. “We're here to protect our kids and I protected him every day until he didn't let me anymore.

"And the day that happened was the day that he got quiet.”

While the family was still at the hospital, holding Drayke’s hand, his sisters had the idea to start a movement in their brother’s honor.

“Why are we making it public? Why are we bringing attention to it?," asked Andrew Hardman. "I think that's kind of the stigma that Utah has had for a long time, is that we don't like to talk about it with our kids, about mental health and how it can impact their day and their lives.”

The Hardmans say Drayke took his own life because he was bullied by a classmate at school.

Since February 2022, the "Do It For Drayke Foundation" has raised awareness for identifying mental health problems and suicidal ideations in kids.

“They could be, you know, being abused at home or, you know, getting this taught from a coach or something like that, and so, you know, not always blaming the bullies,” said Andrew.

Along with handing out cards and wristbands, the nonprofit sells and donating backpacks.

On the anniversary of Drayke's death over the weekend, the family went to the arcade to have fun in his honor.

“I was like, you know, we're not gonna sit home today," Samie Hardman said. "We're not gonna sit home this year. We're not gonna be sad. We're gonna celebrate him.”

Samie says the love and support the Tooele community has showed their family over the last two years has been unbelievable.

“We had like debated, do we stay here? Do you know, do we carry this burden, of being in such a small town? And absolutely, this is where we stay,” she said.

CLICK HERE to support the "Do It For Drayke Foundation" by donating money or buying a backpack.