A recent donation of $1 million from Christopher Thompson and his family – made through a gift of a life insurance policy – will be used to support the programs and services in the Mahoning Valley at the Lois and John Orr Family Behavioral Health Center.
The center is home to pediatric behavioral health services and will serve as an ongoing memorial to Christopher’s son, Teegan Kamzelski, who died by suicide at the age of 24.
This journey is something no parent should have to go through. But Christopher hopes that through this gift, children and youth in the Mahoning Valley will continue to get the treatment they need.
“If we could get treatment for children at a younger age, we could change the pathways of these kids’ lives,” said Christopher. “The behavioral health program is so important to us and needs support because no one is immune to this disease.”
This is also a chance to help break down the stigma that surrounds suicide so that people who need help get help. Christopher hopes that by speaking out and telling Teegan’s story, they can make it okay for kids to reach out to get the help they need.
“Treatment for mental and behavioral health issues is so dear to my heart, but it carries such a negative stigma,” said Christopher. “And it is so overlooked and under treated because people are ashamed. No one should be ashamed.”
This gift will support the programs and services offered through the behavioral health center including the partial hospitalization program, intensive outpatient treatment, and counseling and support services. The gift has also been recognized with the naming of the building that houses the behavioral health center as the Teegan Kamzelski Building.
“Christopher and his family have not only given us a gift, but they have created a legacy for Teegan that will continue to help children and teens from this day forward,” said Paul Olivier, vice president of Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley. “We’re so grateful they have joined Akron Children’s Hospital in our mutual goal of helping young people when they need it most.”
In so many ways, Teegan left a mark on everyone he met and on his community. He never met a stranger and was always willing to step in and help when anyone needed it. He was a self-taught master carpenter whose creativity and craftsmanship live on in the work he did. And now, through this generous gift and the naming of the Teegan Kamzelski Building, his story and the support of his family and friends will provide much-needed help for those facing mental and behavioral health issues.
Join Teegan’s family in supporting behavioral health care. Funding will help ensure that patients have access to the mental and behavioral health treatment they need. Make your gift today at giving.akronchildrens.org/TeeganKamzelskiHumanitarianInitiative.