This 10-Year-Old Attends Suicide Prevention Walks to Offer One Thing: a Hug.
Becca Taylor was volunteering at the June 2013 Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk, a suicide prevention event in Washington, D.C., when she saw the woman crying.
Becca, 10, was standing next to her mom, Lisa Speranza, at their volunteer table. The woman stood in front of them, amid a crowd of people gathered to remember the loved ones they’d lost and raise awareness so others won’t have to suffer such a loss.
“Mom,” Becca said, “that lady is so upset. She could use a hug.”
“Go ahead,” Speranza replied. So Becca walked up and opened her arms to a complete stranger.
For the next seven hours, Becca continued walking around and offering hugs. Her mother photographed the quiet, emotional exchanges. By the end of the night, the 10-year-old had embraced close to 300 people.
“She saw people struggling around her, and she took a small measure,” Speranza told The Mighty. “To see people who are in tears have a big smile, even for just a few seconds, it’s incredibly moving.”
Becca attended another suicide prevention walk the following October in Philadelphia, Penn. This time, she knew from the beginning exactly how she was going to help — with hugs. She and her mother officially started their “Hugs Here” mission, where Becca holds a sign for free hugs and embraces anyone who needs an extra dose of support.
“She wants to hug these people because deep down she knows each of them is missing a hug from someone they don’t have anymore,” Speranza told The Mighty.
Up next, Becca and her mom will attend an overnight walk in Philadelphia on June 28. They understand why going to these types of events are important because they lost a family member to suicide in 2005. Speranza says her daughter still has a 10-year-old’s perspective on suicide, but she can empathize with someone who knows loss.
“Sometimes, when people break down she says, ‘Mom, it’s just a hug,’” Speranza said. “And I say, ‘No. To them, it’s so much more.’”
If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.