ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A Southwest Georgia restaurant is honoring the life of one of their own by bringing awareness to suicide.
Kupcake Fest kicked off around 2 pm on Sunday, as a way to honor Katie Austin, and to bring awareness to suicide prevention.
“It is a way to honor her, but to also raise funds for the Yellow Elephant, which is suicide prevention, and other resources to help people who are struggling. We want people to know that they’re not alone, and we’re just trying to make a difference,” says Mellow Mushroom owner Lisa Lewis.
Many friends and former co-workers are remembering Austin, including Jay Shultz who said, “Katie was a very loving person, and she was a very easy person to love.”
Katie Austin ended her life in April. She had worked at Mellow Mushroom since 2011, and was a bar manager.
Austin would have celebrated her 31st birthday this week, according to Lewis.
Everything from cornhole tournaments, live music, vendors, and a silent auction were held at the event.
Proceeds from Kupcake Fest will go to the Yellow Elephant including “T-shirt sales. This is actually Katie’s writing on this T-shirt. She would write me posted notes and put them on my desk that would say ‘I love U Lisa, Katie,’ so we took that and had it put onto the shirt" says Lewis.
The shirt's logo and name is designed from a tattoo Katie had.
Some people who knew Katie best were too emotional to go on camera, while others shared their thoughts on seeing the community come out to support their friend.
Another friend and Mellow Mushroom employee Jordan Harrell says “It’s heart-warming. It’s heart-warming to know that she was loved.”
Friend and former co-worker Michelle Rodriguez says she remembers Austin every day. "Memories, good memories, bad memories, love memories, just people that we share together. Just moments that just took your breath away. Coming here every day is just a memory for me with her,”
Organizers expected over 300 people, and they hope to make it an annual event.