Kathy Ormsby was a 5 foot 5 inch, 108 pound, 21 year old college junior. She was also on the dean’s list and she was a runner on the North Carolina State track team. In 1986 she had just broken the collegiate record for the 10,000 meter women’s run.
On Wednesday, June 4th, 1986, Miss Ormsby was competing in the first final of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s outdoor track and field championships for the Women’s 10,000 meter run and having recently broken the collegiate record, she was favored to win.
Kathy started the race strong with the lead pack and remained in fourth place, only a few strides away from the lead. She was in a great position. It was possible for her to take the lead. Around the 6,500 meter mark she suddenly veered off the track, climbed over a chain link fence, ran to a bridge on New York Street and then jumped off.
Falling 30-40 feet below and landing in dirt and weeds, she fractured her spine in several places, suffered a punctured lung and a fractured rib. Kathy Ormsby would never walk, or run again, but she survived.
Kathy Ormsby was a perfectionist. She constantly set goals for herself and she never felt like she was good enough. She also couldn’t stand the thought of letting anyone down and failure was not an option for her. Kathy Ormsby survived but Madison Holleran did not.
Madison Holleran was on the track team at Penn State. She was a talented athlete, a good student and a beautiful young woman. She was also a perfectionist.
Unfortunately we will never know what Madison could have become because she jumped from a 9 story parking garage and ended her life. I wrote about her story here.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people. September 2015 is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Please take a moment to visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Know the Warning Signs and Risk of Suicide.
Mental illness is a year round problem. Help promote awareness of suicide prevention resources and promote discussion of suicide prevention awareness. You can also use #suicideprevention or #IAmStigmaFree on social media and visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness for more info.