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Mom who lost daughter to suicide organizes walk to raise awareness in Lake Oswego

Michelle Best lost her daughter Melanie in 2019. Now she organizes the annual event to give others access to resources to prevent suicide.

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore — A local mom who lost her daughter three years ago is organizing a walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention

Michelle Best remembers how her daughter Melanie lit up the room.

"She had an infectious smile, she was completely full of life," said Best.

Her daughter graduated from Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego and studied at Oregon State University. 

"She was a pretty amazing girl. She would have one term left to graduate with a bachelor's degree in finance."

Best said the 22-year-old was being treated for depression. 

"She was trying to get better. She did everything she could. She was relying on doctors for help, we called 911 relying on the police for help, it just didn't work." 

Best lost her daughter to suicide in August 2019

Credit: Michelle Best
A framed picture of Melanie Santiago Best

Now family, friends and neighbors who knew and loved Melanie walk annually to raise awareness of suicide prevention. The third annual walk will take place Saturday, Oct. 2, in Lake Oswego

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Donations from the walk will benefit the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention

Over the past three years, her team has raised almost $30,000 for the foundation, which provides prevention programs and education for suicide research. 

"We need more education not just for us, the family, friends — but for community resources, police," said Best.

Melanie's nickname was Lemon and her favorite color was yellow, so the walk was appropriately named "Save our Lemons." Those who participate will get yellow t-shirts and donors will get a handmade decoration shaped like a lemon.

The walk will go from Oswego Hills Vineyard to Hazelia Field at Luscher Farm and back. People can also make a "drive-by donation" at Hazelia between 10:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday.

You can register for the walk or contribute to the fundraiser by visiting this page.

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