This post deals extensively with suicide and other forms of mental illness. If you're in a place where this might be overwhelming, save this for later. If you're struggling, please text 741741, call 1-800-273-8255, or use this nifty tool created by To Write Love On Her Arms to find help near you.
In September 2017, we lost a cousin to suicide.
He was one of the last people I would have thought was struggling. He was incredibly smart, always cracking jokes, and talented in many different ways. He was always trying to make people smile and loved helping others.
My cousin Cameron was one of my idols growing up. As the oldest in my family, Cameron was the big brother I didn't have. He taught my brother and me all kinds of things brothers around the world do to each other.
We watched Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and beat each other up the whole time, which resulted in me being banned from watching the show after jumping off the couch to karate kick my brother in the face.
We formed clubs based around our favorite colors and fought about which one was best. Naturally, Cameron and I were on the red team, which was definitely better than blue.
He introduced me to all kinds of cool video games that I didn't know I wanted but immediately had to have because he had them. In fact, after he brought his cartridge of Pokemon Yellow, my brother and I worked to get our own Game Boy Pockets so that we could start playing.
The first Christmas we visited their family in Texas, we snuck downstairs and tried to figure out what our presents were. Looking back, we were pretty terrible at being sneaky but at the time we thought we were the best ninjas in the world.
The second Christmas we spent in Texas, we were much older and into more intense things, like Airsoft, go-karts, and even girls! We played Airsoft in their house (sorry Aunt Nat & Uncle Eric!), snuck into the theme park Cameron worked at, and learned even more skills that our parents probably didn't want us to learn.
One of these important, questionable, life-changing skills was how to pick locks using a credit card, which came in handy later that week. You see, Cameron was a full-fledged teenager during this visit, so he was sleeping all day. My brother and I tried to wake him up so we could hang out with him, which resulted in a brawl followed by my cousin escaping to the bathroom and locking himself in. While we were busy picking the lock, he opened the window above the bathtub, wiggled his way out, and tried to get back in the house.
One important detail to add to this story is that Cameron also slept in his boxers. I mean, can you blame the guy? Texas even in the middle of December is pretty darn toasty. He had also completed the look with his backwards hat, which was a staple of his wardrobe.
Anyway, we weren't going to let him in once he was out there, so we locked all the doors and windows. Once he figured out he couldn't get in on the first floor, he climbed up the house to try and get in through a window. We had already locked all the windows, so what does he do? He starts dancing provocatively on the roof of the landing above the door, forcing us and all of his neighbors to witness this Christmas miracle.
Man, I miss him.
Cameron would have been 30 as of this writing. As I write this, I'm the same age as he was when he died. He had so much to look forward to.
This company was started with the goal to prevent others from losing those they love the most. After going through this pain ourselves, we felt compelled to help in whatever way we could, which is how bobbox came to be.
We started with music subscriptions, which were designed to help musicians make more money for the music they already had. After a successful crowdfunding campaign and offering subscriptions for a few months, we found that we were unable to achieve the results we were hoping for.
We transitioned to offering merchandise that uses 20-40% of proceeds to get people who can't afford it into counseling. We hope that by giving people access to the help they need, we'll be able to help save lives and make a positive difference in this world of ours.
The proceeds generated by merch sales are donated to either HeartSupport or The Trevor Project, both of which offer counseling resources at little to no cost to those they come across in the work they do. There's potential for expanding our network in the future, but we believe strongly in the importance of mental health in the music scene and for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, which is why we've chosen to align ourselves with these two groups.
This project is personal for me; I've struggled with suicidal ideation and feeling hopeless. I've had friends and family attempt suicide, and I've lost others to it. After Cameron died, I realized I couldn't ignore the issues that had built up inside me over the years. I saw a counselor and I've worked hard at being okay. I've seen the difference in my life and I hope to help give other people the chance to get better.
We believe in helping everyone get the help they need to stay alive and win the fight against their mental illnesses. We believe that suicide doesn't have to be an epidemic. We believe that we can work together to end this problem and prevent others from experiencing the same pain.
We believe that doing our part in preventing suicide will keep someone here to see another day.
The statistics are scary. No one wants to talk about suicide. But things aren't gonna change until we all start taking care of each other. We couldn't keep Cameron here. But with your help, we can keep others alive. We can prevent parents losing children. Children losing parents. Siblings losing a brother or sister. Friends and family losing loved ones. People losing people.
If this is something you can get behind, we'd love it if you'd buy a shirt. Or two. Or all of them. We'd also love it if you'd share what we're doing with those you care about. Any way that you are able to support us is greatly appreciated.