Packers Hall of Famer Taking Steps to Raise Suicide Awareness


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Packers Hall of Famer Taking Steps to Raise Suicide Awareness

By Stacy Engebretson. CREATED Apr 23, 2014

Oshkosh, WI -- He's a Packers Hall of Famer. A former kicker who enjoyed the thrill of defeat and entertaining his fans. But Chester Marcol has a darker side that he's sharing publicly in order to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention.  

Tragedy brought Chester Marcol and Jenny Wesner together. Both lost loved ones to suicide.

"After my dad took his life, I had a real difficult time getting close to people. I swore to God I would never love another person as long as I lived," said Marcol.

The Polish immigrant was just 14-years-old at the time of his father's death. He would go on to play nine seasons for the Packers and make one of the franchise's most memorable plays against the rival Chicago Bears. Marcol caught his own blocked field goal and ran it in for a touchdown for a thrilling overtime win in 1980. But a battle with drug addiction ended up costing him his career.   

"Well I played in the 70's. It was scary. I knew I was going downhill very fast and I was too scared to ask for help, because I was afraid to lose my job. Well I lost it anyway."

Marcol also struggled with mental health issues and tried taking his own life in 1986. In addition to losing his father, Marcol's brother also died by suicide in 2012. Now, his mission is to raise awareness. It's a goal that lead him to Jenny Wesner of Winneconne. She lost her 18-year-old son, Alex, who battled depression but refused medication.  

"I miss him you know. I miss him not being around. I miss not being able to see his face or hold him or hug him, see him and see what he's accomplished," Wesner said while wiping away tears.

Since Alex's death, Wesner has dedicated her time to Oshkosh's Community for Hope organization and is the chairperson for the 4th Annual Chester Marcol 5K Run/Walk for Suicide Awareness.

"Every year since 2011 to make this walk happen has been a blessing," said Wesner.

It's a chance for families to honor their loved ones, to educate people about the signs and treatment of mental illness and link them to support services to save lives.

"I just want to make sure that people are aware that there is help," said Marcol. 

So no one else will have to feel the pain Chester and Jenny endure everyday.   

Organizers hope to raise $50,000 at Oshkosh's 4th Annual Chester Marcol 5K Run/Walk for Suicide Awareness. It's happening Saturday, April 26th, 2014. Registration begins at 7:30am at the Oshkosh North High School Gym, 1100 W. Smith Avenue, Oshkosh, WI, 54901. There will be booths and presentations starting at 8:00am. The Run/Walk begins at 9:30am. The event will happen rain, shine or snow.

Click here for more information.