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Eye of the Gale

The student news site of Lancaster High School

Eye of the Gale

The student news site of Lancaster High School

Eye of the Gale

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Chasing Life

Local project spreads awareness of suicide and mental wellness
Chase and Sarah Haley. Photo courtesy of S. Haley.

A family who lost their son to suicide is working to break the stigma and promote awareness.  The Chase Haley Project was established following the death of Lancaster graduate Chase Haley who passed away on September 10th, 2022.  The tragedy sparked a community effort to come together and support suicide prevention efforts in Fairfield County. Additionally, the project also focuses on honoring Haley.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, in 2021, suicide was the second-leading cause of death among Ohioans 10-34 years of age and the 12th-leading cause of death in Ohio, overall. Moreover, the ODH reports that after a two-year decline, death by suicide increased in 2021.

Haley’s mother Sarah Haley has taken the lead on the Chase Haley Project. She said that the community can help raise money by donating or purchasing merchandise such as t-shirts, hoodies, crewnecks, from the project’s website. All sales from merchandise and donations will be used to provide the resources to complete the goal of promoting mental wellness and suicide prevention.

The Chase Haley Project will continue after the holidays. They plan to create events, at no cost to participants, such as yoga sessions, group events for volunteer work, group exercise events, bringing in speakers for local area high schools, as well as extending that same opportunity to the public.

¨Our community is small and very tight-knit, which gives us such a unique opportunity to come together as a whole to break this stigma,¨ Sarah Haley said.

Chase’s empathy for others has made an impact on his friends and family. His mother has seen him go out of his way to help anyone he could. 

¨He genuinely cared about others in such a way that I have never witnessed in another soul. You knew you were a better person just for having known him. He had the rare ability to feel another person’s pain and happiness, and oftentimes I feel that was at his own expense. It is imperative that you fill your cup as much as you give from it,¨ she said.

After graduating from LHS, Chase attended Ohio University to pursue a psychology degree. His roommate Sean McClain said Haley was fun to live with and described his personality.

Roommates Chase Haley (left) and Sean McClain (right). Photo courtesy of McClain.

¨It was a rollercoaster to be Chase’s roommate because he was so carefree and he really just went with the flow. I never knew if I was going to end up going on a random adventure or if I was going to play games at the apartment. That’s the thing about Chase, it didn’t matter what we were doing or where we were at, he was always there whether I needed to have a laugh to take my mind off of things or talk through my problems,¨ McClain said.

Haley ran cross country and track for the Gales. One of his former teammates, Drake Dickerson loved having Chase as a teammate and a friend.

¨It was great to be Chase’s teammate in high school. He was always trying to make other people laugh so it was always enjoyable to be around him,¨ Dickerson said.

Haley thrived when he was a part of a team. According to his mother, he learned valuable lessons from his teammates and coach.

¨Chase learned discipline, determination, hard work, dedication, and brotherhood. One of the things he always looked forward to was Coach K’s XC camp. He learned that if you worked hard, you could play hard. He actually made that one of his mottos. I truly believe that the best Chase ever felt was when he was running with his brothers,¨ Sarah Haley expressed.

Coach K. shares words of wisdom with Haley and his teammates. Photo courtesy of S. Haley.

Sarah Haley emphasized that when someone is struggling emotionally or mentally, reaching out to a loved one is critical.

¨Please don’t be afraid to reach out. This is just a rough moment in time, and it will pass. You are not the only one feeling this way or has felt this way so there is a good chance the person you reach out to has been there and may be able to offer you suggestions on how to get through times like this. If they aren’t able to help in the way that you need, they may be able to connect you with someone who can.¨

Dickerson reiterated Sarah Haley’s advice.

¨It is important to remember that even if you feel like you’re alone, you are not alone. There is someone who cares about you and is willing to hear what you have to say,¨ Dickerson expressed.

McClain said that Haley impacted the lives of many in positive ways and is missed deeply by his friends and family.

¨Every day I think, I wish Chase was here for this, because I would love to see his reactions and jokes to the things that are happening in our lives. I miss my brother and I hope he knew how much he meant to everyone,¨ McClain said.

To donate or purchase apparel from the Chase Haley Project, visit

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