Parents launch Facebook page after son’s suicide

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EAST MOLINE, Illinois - The first thing most people noticed about Foster Atwood, was his super smile.

"He was a fun loving, class clown. A loveable kid," said his dad Kevin Atwood from his home in East Moline.

But in July, Foster killed himself in his apartment. He was just 19 years old.

"I guess he climbed in the bathtub and he swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills. No note. No explanation," his grieving dad said.

There were no signs early on.

Foster had been an active and involved student in high school at United Township. He was a part-time college student who worked full time at Stashu's Pizza in Moline.

"My son played high school football. He played high school baseball. He had a lot of friends. he was on homecoming court at United Township, "he said.

But about six months ago, Foster wasn't his happy self. He started showing some signs  of depression. About a month before his suicide, he and his parents tried to get help for him with a psychiatrist or psychologist. But, they couldn't get in.

"There was no opening. There are waiting lists. 30 days at least to get him in anywhere. I do know he wanted help and even was frustrated not being able to get in to get an appointment," said his mom, Jaime Atwood.

Still,they had no idea how much Foster was suffering. No idea he would even think about taking his own life.

"Never in a million years did I think I would have lost my son to suicide, " said Kevin Atwood.

Foster, a big-time Cubs fan, was buried July 25 in his favorite Anthony Rizzo jersey. The pallbearers all wore Cubs jerseys owned by Foster, too.

Now, just two weeks after his death, his parents have created a Facebook page called "Foster's Voice", to try and help people who are thinking about taking their own lives. A forum for those suffering, and the people who care for them.

"It's to bring the subject to the forefront. To let them know they're not alone even though they're feeling alone," Kevin said, adding that he has already corresponded online with one man who said he was thinking about ending it all. But waited one more day, and lived to tell about it.

The Atwoods hope to start a "Foster's Voice " website, too. And warn parents that even someone with their son's infectious smile, can be deeply and desperately hurting inside. And contemplating about making a mortal mistake.

"He never let anybody know that he was depressed. When in public, and around other people, he would smile and laugh and joke. And when he was alone, that's when he fought the demons. Suicide. It is an epidemic. There's no almost. It is," he said.