During my Junior year of high school, I worked at a restaurant part-time with a friend whose father was battling cancer.

After heading home from work with her mom one evening, they pulled into their garage to find her father dead; he hung himself in the garage. 

They speculated on why; he was in so much pain, and the medical bills were astronomical; cancer was driving his family into debt, and he couldn’t take the pressure any longer. 

While it is well documented that chronic illness and financial instability can lead to suicide, the question still remains how do you help someone like my schoolmate’s father?

Cancer patients are 4x more likely to commit suicide than non-cancer patients. The American Journal of Medicine study looked at an initially-estimated 9.5 million newly-diagnosed persons with cancer 50 years of age or older and found that a whopping “42.4% of individuals depleted their life assets 2 years following diagnosis, extending to 38.2% at 4 years following. Most vulnerable are those with certain socioeconomic class factors (such as my schoolmate’s family who immigrated to the states in the early 1990s and lived modestly at the time of her father’s death.

Something to think about this September as we drive awareness for suicide prevention.


  • Ilana Frenkel Kearns

    Strategic Business Operations and Communications Leader Connecting the Dots to Drive Process Improvement and Organizational Success | Chief of Staff


    With over a decade serving alongside top executives at global Fortune 500 and privately held companies as their trusted business partner and advisor, I provide strategic support for all operational efforts to relieve them of administrative functions, allow them to focus on strategic and tactical responsibilities, and achieve key business outcomes. The following are highlights of the value I’ve brought to organizations: Developed and lead and partnered with C-level executives to design and execute company-wide strategic initiatives, including working with department leaders to define, manage, and track their priorities. On-dollar projects, including new space build-outs, flagship events, and multiple-day offsite events to create team cohesion. Researched, prepared, and coordinated corporate communications and marketing programs to build awareness, and collaborated closely with internal and external partners to drive unmatched results. Guided companies towards increasingly sophisticated and effective use of technology, including effective remote work at the onset of COVID-19. Collaborated to produce and write articles, blogs, social media posts, and communications to build both professional and personal brands, increased partnerships, and boost revenue. Served as a Community Relations Strategy Leader for a multi-million-dollar corporation building relationships with 10+ unique nonprofits across the city of Atlanta and galvanizing volunteerism, sustainability, and people-driven community service. Reach out and connect with me here on LinkedIn so we can discuss the challenges you face with managing daily operations. I’d love to show you how I can lend my expertise to help solve them. Strategic Planning | Risk Management and Mitigation | Cross-Functional Leadership | Stakeholder Engagement | Corporate Communications | Project Management | Meeting and Event Management| Policy and Procedure Management | Collaborative Leadership | Workplace Culture | Resource Optimization | Conflict Resolution | Transparent Communications | Business Case Writing | Corporate Social Responsibility | Inclusion and Diversity