April 16th, 2010 was a life-altering day for Adam and all who loved him. It forever changed the lives of my parents, my siblings, his nieces and nephews, his fiance Sami, and his friends. We knew that Adam suffered from depression but we did not know it would cost him his life.

Adam was one of millions of people who suffer from depression. He is also male, which puts him in a category of least likely to seek out treatment. More than anything, all Adam wanted was to feel happy.

In an undated journal entry written a year and a half prior to his death, Adam wrote, “I have many things in my life which should provide me with happiness but have yet to experience true happiness. So now I ask myself, what is the definition of happiness? Am I actually happy and not realizing it? I know that even through the many achievements I have made, I continue to lack the feeling that I describe as happiness…to live a life without experiencing the feelings of happiness is pure torture.”

Following the article in the Lincoln Journal Star which shared about Adam’s life and his struggle with depression, countless people came forward about their own battles, many whom we have never met. During a sleepless night, it was then that the need for more awareness became very clear. One woman wrote, “Depression is a terrible, isolating and shameful disease. It makes you feel weak and worthless.”

What I also came to understand is that depression knows no boundaries. It doesn’t care about your family support system, your education, your success in life. I feel that we need to bring a different “face” to depression. At the time of his death, Adam had everything he had ever wanted in his life and yet it was not enough to win the battle over depression.

We can make the race day a life-altering day. Adam’s joy in life was to help others and to make a difference. I realized that even though he is no longer with us, his life still has the power to change.