One birthday wish: suicide prevention


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — We all wish for something for our birthday. Some ask for a new computer or a new phone. But for one Wilmington man, his wish is very different.

“You know bro, I’m here for you. You have plenty of people who love you and care about you and we’ll get through this together,” Philip Applewhite said.

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When Applewhite’s mom asked him what he wanted for his 21 birthday, he wanted one thing.

“He didn’t ask for a new car. Didn’t ask for money. Didn’t ask for anything. Just ‘can you help me do this and can you make a donation,'” Nancy Applewhite said.

A donation to raise money for suicide prevention in honor of his close friend.

“There’s really nothing else that I could ever want right now besides spreading a little bit of positivity and a positive message and just a message of hope,” Philip said.

His friend, Hunter Cooper, committed suicide last year, the day after Applewhite’s birthday.

“Everything in my life that I’ve been through and then seeing him go through so much in his life and then him actually just ending it, it just really stuck with me,” Philip said.

He also has a tattoo, honoring Cooper’s life. He says he wants to see the stigma around suicide end and honor and respect the lives lost.

“I just wanted to make sure he was remembered and that everybody else who committed suicide would be remembered. Not just for being a selfish person, but for being somebody that was going through a lot of hard things and sadly that was their only option out, to them,” Philip said.

Cooper’s father told WWAY he is honor that Applewhite is doing this. All of the money donated goes to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

If you would like to help, click here.