Campus News

Spread the Love: Save a Life


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 9, 2010) − Kentucky Children's Hospital's adolescent medicine program, Stop Youth Suicide and Lexington high school students will host the first annual "Spread the Love-a-thon." The fundraising and suicide-prevention event will be held from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14, at the Temple Adath Israel, 124 North Ashland Ave. in Lexington.

Leslie Robin, an adolescent medicine volunteer, helped develop the event.

[IMAGE2]"We decided to have this event because suicide is the second leading cause of death among high schoolers in Kentucky, and because adolescent depression is a major problem nationwide," Robin said. "We decided to host the Spread the Love-a-thon on Valentine's Day because of its supposed focus on love. We want to shift the focus away from commercialized romantic love, which can cause depression, toward platonic and familial love, which boost mental health." 

The event works like any other fundraiser in which people make pledges to sponsor an activity. Teens get into groups of 10 and send out “Life Lines” to other teenagers. Each Life Line consists of two genuine compliments and a brief message about youth suicide.  Participants will use their own cell phones and/or laptops to compete for the greatest number of Life Lines made in two hours. The teenagers get sponsors who pledge to give a certain amount per Life Line, and prizes will be awarded for various accomplishments (most money pledged, most Life Lines given, etc.).

"Each day, on average, 12 adolescents commit suicide in the United States and every two hours and five minutes, a person under the age of 25 completes suicide," said Marlene Huff, associate professor of pediatrics, UK College of Medicine, and a psychologist in adolescent medicine at Kentucky Children's Hospital. "The 'Spread the Love-a-thon' event is designed to communicate support and appreciation of all  people—from one teen to another."                                    

Robin received a degree in human biology from Brown University and taught school with Teach for America. She decided to pursue a career in adolescent medicine and will enter medical school at UK's College of Medicine this fall. 

For more information about the event, contact Leslie Robin at (401) 465-7121. For more information about Stop Youth Suicide, go to