AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Walking for Lauren Bowman.
It has been two months since the St. Christine eighth-grader took her life in late August because she was bullied.
On Sunday, the 13-year-old girl was remembered when her family hosted a walk at Austintown Township Park to not only honor her life, but to spread a message about bullying as well.
“As time got closer and closer for her to go back to school, she became more and more terrified and just couldn’t do it,” said Shawne Wilfong, Bowman’s aunt.
Wilfong said Bowman loved baseball, as she played ever since she could pick up a bat. The shirts worn on Sunday said thing’s like, “Our angel on first base.”
“She was the best first baseman in the whole place,” said friend Stephanie Schlosser. “She was really good.”
A sea of purple and white balloons filled Austintown Township Park on Sunday.
A special, private message written for Lauren was attached to each balloon. The slips of paper also reminded people to speak up against bullying.
“It’s hard,” Schlosser said. “Pretty much every night you get reminded of things and you think of her.”
October is Bully Awareness Month.
The Center of Disease Control and Prevention says in 2015, 20 percent of high-schoolers reported being bullied at school. Sixteen percent say they were bullied online.
“Kids don’t understand that things will get better and that it’s not always going to be like that,” Wilfong said. “If you’re a friend of someone being bullied, stand up to them.
“Stand up to them. Stand up to the bully.”