KEVIN SMITH | Gone Too Soon
Kevin Smith Kevin Smith Kevin Smith Kevin Smith Kevin Smith Kevin Smith Kevin Smith

Kevin grew up in an all-American middle class close-knit family which included his twin sister Karla who was his only sibling and close friend.  Karla wouldn’t have been described as a quiet child.  In fact, she had a passion and zest for life which was manifested in activities, debates, creations and friendships.  She was a leader and well liked in school and was elected as a student council officer.  She was an honor student.  She had the lead in the school play.  Her future was bright, promising and exciting.

But then, at the age of 19, in the second semester of her sophomore year in college,  Karla was consumed by her first major depression.  What came next was a long and painful road.  It wasn’t until two years later that she was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  The family was her support system and dedicated to learning about the disease while struggling to cope with the news.  For seven years Karla and her family struggled on an emotional rollercoaster.  The result was devastating.  On January 13, 2003 at the young age of 26, Karla ended her physical life on earth.

Kevin and his family were devastated.  Karla had been an avid and passionate writer and was nearly complete with her memoir, Glue, when she completed suicide.  The revealing words talked about her passion to educate others about the struggles of what it was like to live with a mental illness.  The title of the book, Glue, was in reference to the bipolar medicine which held her together during difficult times of mania and depression.

Karla’s family came together to create the Karla Smith Foundation (KSF).  The mission of the organization is to provide support and coping strategies to family members and friends who have lost a loved one from suicide.  The organization is committed to erasing stigma around mental illness, promoting awareness, facilitating support, sharing resources, providing education and honoring the life, beautiful spirit and soul of their loved one, Karla, who is gone too soon.

Emily was Karla’s best childhood friend.  She heard the news of Karla’s death and even though she hadn’t seen or talked to her in ten years she came to the funeral to remember her best friend.  It was there that Kevin and Emily were reconnected and brought together by the loss of someone they loved.  The reunion resulted in Kevin and Emily getting married and starting a family.  Kevin is now a family man and the proud father of two sons, Luke and Christian.

Kevin is committed to use his voice to encourage young people to seek help when they feel depressed.  He is honoring his twin sister’s life by creating an opportunity for open dialogue on this important topic on college and university campuses.



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Kevin Smith was very influential speaker on the Shippensburg University campus. Many students reacted positively with the message and got a lot of encouragement and helpful advice from him. I would like to thank Kevin on behalf of the Shippensburg University Activities Program Board for coming to campus and for encouraging our students with his insightful words and testimony.

Tyler Graham
Shippensburg University


Karla Smith Foundation Karla Smith Foundation supports families affected by mental health and suicide.

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