SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Ocean Beach hosted its first Suicide Prevention Run in honor of Ryan Bowers on Sunday. Bowers was a local skateboarder and musician who passed away three years ago.
Today, the goal of his family and friends is to remove the stigma around mental health issues.
Ocean Beach is a tight-knit community, so when Bowers took his life, word spread quickly.
"I know he had made several attempts before, but I'd saw him just before that. He seemed he was doing well," said Shane Hardin, the owner of Hodad's. "It was a total surprise."
Bowers was 26 years old. Among the locals of Ocean Beach, he was known for his skateboarding and rapping. Hardin remembered him as a good friend.
"I was a senior and he was a freshman, but he kind of fit in with all the older kids. He had a rough sense of humor," Hardin said.
Hardin agreed to help the Bowers family memorialize Ryan by organizing a suicide prevention run. The route was mapped out on the same streets where Ryan grew up.
Around 400 people signed up, and the money went toward the Hodad's Foundation.
"Hodad's Foundation has been our fiscal and emotional sponsor. I'm grateful for everything they've done for us because without them we wouldn't be able to accomplish this," Ryan's mother, Victoria Bowers, told ABC 10News.
Ryan's mom said she couldn't stop him from dying, but she's hopeful this run will save others.
"They can say they're on the edge, and I think it's our responsibility as a community to talk them off that ledge, and to let them know they're not alone. They do matter," she said.
Bowers plans to organize this run every year, but a more physical tribute hangs on the walls of Hodad's on Newport Avenue: Ryan's skateboard.
The San Diego Crisis Hotline is available 24/7. If you or someone you know is struggling, the number is (888) 724-7240. You can also call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.