Parents of student who took his own life want others to seek help

Experts on suicide have generally succeeded in tamping down public talk about suicide by the nation’s school children.

But Dan and Wanda Lienemann of Waukee, Iowa, think there’s a better way to prevent the kind of thing that happened to their 18-year-old son, Drew, who attempted to take his own life last weekend, and succeeded when the family removed life support this week and donated his organs.

Hours afterward, they faced the media and told their son’s story. He was the captain of the football team and, as the Des Moines Register characterized it today, he was “quintessentially Iowan.”

He sat with a handicapped boy at lunch every day of his junior year. His parents didn’t know that until after their son was gone.

Dan Lienemann told a story of one of his son’s friends who went to Drew when she felt suicidal.

Drew talked her out of it. She sought help, first from her parents and then others.

The girl plans to be a missionary and spread the faith that Drew clung to.

Drew is gone. Parts of his body will be shared with others, improving their lives.

But the Lienemanns are haunted.

“How many lives would he have touched if he had lived?” Dan Lienemann asked.

“We just hope that through this, maybe kids would understand you have to grab hold of somebody. You’ve got to really talk to somebody, especially your parents. They’re the ones who love you the most,” Wanda Lienemann said.

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