She had experienced symptoms at age 19 but for 2 years, we did not know what was wrong. The bipolar disorder diagnosis came from a hospital in New Mexico. After learning about bipolar disorder, our family agreed the diagnosis was accurate.
Karla dies by suicide at age 26
Karla died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the early afternoon on Monday, January 13, 2003.
Karla Smith Foundation incorporated as 501c3 non-profit
Tom, Fran, and Kevin sign the legal papers incorporating the foundation and begin the process to clearly define the mission and market the cause.
Published: The Tattered Tapestry, A Family’s Search for Peace with Bipolar Disorder
This book is the story of Karla's life, told from the perspective of Tom, her father. It also includes the perspective from Kevin, her twin brother, and writings from Karla herself.
First Karla Smith Foundation support group meeting in Belleville, IL
For family members of someone living with mental illness. 2 people attended.
First Karla Smith Foundation Dinner Auction attended by 210
Held at Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville, IL
KSF co-sponsors 1st Erase the Stigma conference in Belleville, IL
Receives the Charles E. Rubey Award
Receives the Charles E. Rubey Award from the Chicago-based L.O.S.S. (Loving Outreach Suicide Survivors), as an organization leading the way in helping people cope with the loss from suicide. Tom, Fran, and Kevin accept the award and speak to an audience of more than 700 about the mission of the Karla Smith Foundation.
Published: "A Balanced Life"
The book, written by Tom Smith, focuses on the 9 strategies of Medication, Education, Counseling, Acceptance, Self-Esteem, Warning Signs, Self-Care, Network, and Faith. It also includes stories from KSF support group members using the strategies.
Partners with BringChange2Mind
BringChange2Mind is a mental illness anti-stigma and awareness campaign co-founded by actress Glenn Close
3rd Karla Smith Foundation Dinner Auction attended by 265
The dinner auction moves to a new venue, the Four Points by Sheraton.
Hires 1st part-time employee, Emily Smith
Emily's role is the Director of Marketing and Development, as well as acting as the Chairperson for the annual dinner auction
Hosts Awareness events with Glenn Close in St. Louis
Dinner gala at Four Seasons attended by 130 Friday. Then a Saturday Cardinals game, in which Ms. Close threw out the first-pitch while the BC2M PSA was shown on the jumbotron. KSF had 21 corporate sponsors for 'Change A Mind, Change A Life.'
4th Karla Smith Foundation Dinner Auction
Held at the Four Points by Sheraton in Fairview Heights, attended by 375 people, 150 of which were new attendees to the annual dinner auction.
Launches St. Louis Support Group for Mental Illness
Under the direction of Jim and Linda Murphey, the St. Louis support group for families of those with a mental illness begins.
KSF hires 1st full-time employee, Chris Hendrix
Chris' title is Director of Programs and Events.
Wins Region V Family Leadership Grant
Hires Mary Pat Dejarnette
Hires 2nd full-time employee, Mary Pat Dejarnette, as the Region V Family Leadership Coordinator.
Emily Smith named Executive Director
Emily becomes the 3rd full-time employee of KSF.
Awarded Grant for Statewide Family Leadership Coordinator
KSF employee Chris Hendrix is selected as the Statewide Family Leadership Coordinator for Illinois.