PULLMAN, Wash. – It has been about four months since the Washington State University community lost quarterback Tyler Hilinski to suicide.
His death shook the Cougar community. But it also inspired many to create awareness for mental illness. The Hilinski family decided to create Hilinski's Hope Project to not only create awareness, but also continue Tyler's legacy.
"It's Tyler's birthday on Saturday so him and my mom used to talk about wanting to hike Mount Rainier for his birthday and so we thought what better way to do it than to for us to come out here and do it," Tyler’s brother Kelly said.
Kelly and his mom Kym are setting out for a trip across Washington state to honor Tyler and his legacy. They flew into Spokane Monday night and started their trip in Pullman.
"So it's a little hard to be up here but some good things will come out of this hard trip," Kym said.
"It's difficult, but it's necessary to honor Ty and promote "HH" and promote our mission statement to help other who are hurting in silence," Kelly explained.
As they make their trip, Kym and Kelly are handing out Hilinski's Hope bracelets as a way to create awareness for mental illness and honor Tyler.
"If Tyler's name isn't mentioned and someone looks at this wrist band and all it takes is the question, 'What is that?' It sparks the conversation that can change countless lives. It's continuing his legacy," Kelly said.
Tyler's legacy can be seen near and far. Photos of Hilinski's Hope wrist bands have appeared throughout the state and even worldwide.
"When we end our hike on Mount Rainer, it's going to be a nice couple of days of thinking about Tyler and remembering him and doing something that we planned to do together. But he'll be with us," Kym said.
The new Hilinski’s Hope bands that just came out are red, white and blue. The colors symbolize Tyler being an "All American Kid." On the inside of the bracelet is the suicide hotline number.