Golf professional who lost son uses outing to benefit suicide prevention awarenessPosted: Updated:
A Rockland County father is trying to do everything he can to erase the stigma mental illness can carry.
Golf pro Billy Ashford was working at Paramount Country Club in New City last October when he last spoke with his son Ryan. Hours later, Ryan took his own life by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
Ryan Ashford was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia more than 10 years prior.
"To get that call at night ... it was the worst time of my life," says Billy Ashford.
Now, Billy Ashford is trying to create possibility out of pain with the first annual Ryan Ashford Memorial Golf Outing. The event raises money for local mental health organizations and highlights September as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
Many of those who participated included local law enforcement or first responders, both groups in which suicide rates are increasing. Ryan's cousin Michael Ashford is an NYPD officer.
Organizers say they hope to raise $20,000 with this outing.