Dozens Gather To Remember Teen Who Took Her Own Life

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - At a memorial gathering for a former Seaman High School student who took her life Thursday, it was clear Lauren Rosso didn't live in isolation.

About a hundred of her friends and family gathered Saturday evening at the Shawnee North Community Center to shine a light on her life.

"Lauren was just one of those people when she walked into a room, the whole room would just glow because of her presence," her friends Ashton Gisi and Peyton Windsor said.

Teens and their parents hugged, shared scrapbook pages filled with vibrant photos of the 16-year-old and her friends.

But those close to her knew behind her smile, her silly faces, Lauren was battling depression and a mental illness that ultimately became too much to bear.

"She would act like she was fine with us... but behind closed doors, that's when it would all come out.," friends Ashton and Peyton said.

"I always wished there's something else I could do to stop this. But the reality is I don't know if I could have," stepfather Mike Lesser said.

Lauren Kathryn Rosso took her own life when she jumped off the 25th Street bridge Thursday, into southbound traffic on I-470.

Suicides are often a taboo subject and difficult to discuss for those involved, but Lauren's friends and family say they have to speak up.

"She would want people to know mental illness is a disease and don't be afraid to ask for help," Lesser said. "And don't be afraid to help someone."

Many in the crowd wore pink as a symbol against suicide, as they shared memories, laughed and cried.

Lauren was an active girl, she volunteered for Meals on Wheels, the Topeka Rescue Mission and helped care for babies at Stormont-Vail Hospital.

"When anybody was having a hard time, they always came to her," her stepmother Teri Rosso said.

A celebration of Lauren's life will be held at 11:30 a.m. Monday at Grace Episcopal Cathedral, 701 SW 8th Ave in Topeka.

Visitation will be Monday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. at the church. A private family interment will follow at the Rochester Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Florence Crittenton, Topeka Rescue Mission, or Helping Hands Humane Society and sent in care of the Davidson Funeral Home.