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UCLA's Kyle Anderson Working to Save Lives

Last year Kyle Anderson lost a very close friend to apparent suicide. Now he is working to help prevent more young people from doing the same.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

We always knew Kyle Anderson was a leader. He helped pull together a great group of talent for our Bruins and held them together on the court.  Last year, however, Kyle lost a very close friend, 20 year old Paul Kim, to apparent suicide. From the Asbury Park Press:

"Kyle was on cloud nine; he was two lockers down from Tim Duncan and on top of the world, and all of a sudden he gets this news," said Anderson's brother, Jamar Wilkins. "It eats at Kyle and his friends because they didn't pick up the signs. They carry the burden."

This year, Kyle wants to help prevent more young people from taking their lives and is doing something about it. Kyle has started a group to help bring mandatory suicide prevention classes to schools, starting with Kim's alma mater, and to create a scholarship in Kim's name. On Saturday he is holding his first "Celebrate Life Day", a basketball clinic and tournament to help raise money for the cause. From Kyle:

It's important for us to spread awareness about this. I really want it to hit home. Paul Kim was a great guy. I know he never meant to put anyone through this pain.

Kim was not only a close friend to Kyle, but also ran Kyle's facebook fan page.

"He was one of my best friends," Anderson said. "I always thought this was an important issue, but after October, there was never any doubt about it."

The clinic will cost $25 and will be for 6th to 8th graders and the kids will be in for a real treat with Kyle running it:
I'm going to teach kids the drills I did at that age.

I can't think of a better teacher. The day will also be used to raise awareness:

The event also will include a presentation by social worker Ed Modica, who is building momentum to pass the "Madison Holleran Suicide Prevention Act." Holleran was an Ivy League track star and Northern Highlands High School grad who took her own life last year. The two bills call for mental health professionals to be available around the clock on college campuses to assist students in crisis, and for colleges to list the numbers of suicides/attempted suicides on their websites annually.

I always really liked this young man and now I have more of a glimpse as to why. If you would like more information or a way to help go to the Celebrate Life Day website.

"Twenty people jumped off the George Washington Bridge last year," Wilkins said. "If one less person does it next year because of this, we did our job."

Thank you Kyle for doing something very important to so many!

Go Bruins