Christian Knudsen was 14 and about to start his freshman year at when he . Knudsen's father, Lars, says he hopes that Christian's death will serve as a catalyst for preventing other tragedies and has set up a memorial fund to help others.
"It's our hope that we can create something transformational from this," says Lars Knudsen, who lives in Redmond.
As difficult as this time is for the family, Knudsen says he wants to encourage people to talk about teen suicide, which is the second leading cause of death in youth ages 15-25.
"No one talks about it, because it's uncomfortable," he said.
Christian Knudsen is remembered in his obituary as a beloved son and brother with many wonderful qualities:
Christian loved to make people laugh. He had the energy and the zest for life few of us ever could imagine. He loved his friends. He loved his family. He was adored and admired by all he touched because of his authentic caring compassion for others.
He wanted to be a Navy Seal Chaplin and then become a youth Minister. His faith was big, His faith was real. One of his highlights in life was his baptism.
He had a passion for learning outdoor survival skills, doing pullups, watching scary movies, Disneyland, eating churros, riding his scooter and bike, airsofting, snowboarding, reading bible verses hugging his brother and sister.
He made us all laugh. He touched most everyone he met.
He also had struggled long with deep-rooted issues, his father says.
"His mother, especially, had gone through heroic efforts" to help Christian, Lars Knudsen said. "We tried really hard."
Knudsen now he wants to continue to help by bringing focus and resources to the problem. The Knudsens have set up the Christian Knudsen Life Fund, which first will establish a scholarship "to help youth pastors, youth counselors and those in youth support position to be well prepared to truly help the lost children and families crying out for help in this situation before it is too late."
Donations can be made at Key Bank branches, or can be sent to this address: 777 108th Ave NE #1800, Bellevue, WA, 98004.
In addition, community members have planned fundraising events and memorials, including a car wash this Sunday, organized by Monique Suttles, whose son was a close friend of Christian Knudsen. The car wash will take place at the station, located in the McDonald's parking lot on 228th in Sammamish.
On Sept. 15, a memorial balloon release will be held, (we will add details of time and place soon), and Christian's older brother, Erik, will be playing benefit shows with his band, Letters and Lights.
Erik Knudsen wrote on his band's Facebook Page:
This tragedy is opening a whole new chapter in my life. All Christian wanted to do was help others who were hurting, so I have chosen to live out his desire through my music. Stay posted for what's to come. Together we can make a difference ♥
Lars Knudsen says the outpouring of support and love for his family in this time has been amazing.
"There are so man things happening, people are doing all this," he said. He plans to talk to junior high students about teen suicide and to make sure Christian's story is told.
"The more that people can read about this and care about it the better," he said.
Suicide prevention resources:Friends of Youth Main office: Redmond Youth Eastside Services
(Topic articles, including spotting suicide warning signs) Main office: Bellevue Youth Suicide Prevention Program
(Youth suicide frequently asked questions) Main office: Seattle James Mazza, associate professor at the University of Washington
(Expert on adolescent mental health and suicide) Main office: Seattle Sound Mental Health Main office: Seattle Crisis Clinic Main office: Seattle Washington State Family Policy Council Main office: Olympia