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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette Athletics hosts mental health awareness match in collaboration with Jenny Fischer’s “Keep Showing Up” campaign

Marquette volleyball in its 3-1 win over Loyola Chicago Sept. 6 at the Al McGuire Center. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Three years ago, Jenny Fischer put a sticky note on her apartment bathroom mirror with three words: Keep Showing Up. She put it there to regularly remind herself to do exactly that.

Now those words have been printed in all caps stacked on top of each other three times in red font across white shirts, hoodies and stickers with the proceeds going to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

Fischer has a personal connection to this cause, which is why she said it means so much to her.

“I lost my mom to suicide when I was 13-years-old. I came home from school, I was an eighth grader and I was the one to find her,” Fischer said. “It was the most traumatizing, world crushing thing I’ve ever been through in my entire life.”

In 2016, Fischer also lost her maternal grandfather to suicide.

Ten years after her mom died by suicide, in 2020, Fischer said she wanted something good to come from what she experienced.

“I just was sick of sitting around and being like, I wish things could change,” Fischer said. “To be an active participant in the things that you care about is one of the most rewarding acts I think a person can do.”

Fischer said she designed the shirt for her and a friend while still a student at Marquette. She said when she started the fundraiser in September of 2020, the goal was just to sell 50 t-shirts.

“I ended up selling like 200 shirts in a week, and they were all shipped to my New York City apartment,” Fischer said. “I was drowning in boxes and my apartment was literally like the size of a shoe box. The fact that it’s grown to where it is today is absolutely wild.”

Fischer said the inspiration for the words “Keep Showing Up” came after seeing a tweet from Desiree Linden.

“When I saw that tweet, it just like struck my soul is probably the best way of putting it,” Fisher said. “Like keep showing up can mean for your job, for yourself, for others, for what you love, for what loves you. But I just felt like it was all-encompassing and so motivating even though it was so simple.”

Saturday, as part of World Suicide Prevention Day, Marquette Athletics is teaming up with Fischer’s “Keep Showing Up” campaign in hosting a mental health awareness game when No. 23 Marquette women’s volleyball takes on LSU.

Fischer said that this would be a full circle moment for her as both her parents played basketball at Marquette.

The match is aimed to bring awareness to mental health, which is something both junior Carsen Murray and senior Carly Skrabak have spoken publicly about through their own websites in the form of blogs from their lens as student-athletes.

Both teams will be wearing Fischer’s “Keep Showing Up” T-Shirts during warm-ups, with additional shirts available to be purchased at the game or online.

Fischer, who will be in attendance, said it will be a “surreal” feeling to see both squads in the shirts.

“It’s not a person by person thing,” Fischer said. “Because again, it’s an event-based thing I think it just elevates the meaning, at least for me, and again hopefully even more so for other people.”

In April, Skrabak wrote a blog about her experiences as a student-athlete and the importance of rest.

“Last spring, I struggled a little bit with mental health and I kind of had to navigate that,” Skrabak said. “Luckily, we have lots of resources here at Marquette and they (the resources) encouraged us to talk to people. That’s what got me to write that.”

Both Skrabak and Murray touch on sports culture, Skrabak about how the idea that if you’re not in the gym, your opponent is and they’re getting better. Murray spoke to how it made her feel like she had to be perfect at all times.

Skrabak said she’s felt the pressure of that and wanted to share her side.

“There’s been a lot of people who are starting to talk about it and to kind of step up and talk about their own experiences,” Skrabak said. “When I saw the opportunity, I thought I would just kind of show the other side of being a student-athlete.”

Skrabak isn’t the only player on this year’s volleyball team to speak up about what she’s going through, as Murray has written two blogs herself.

One of Murray’s blogs touched on mental health in college athletics while, in the other one, she reflected on who she was off the court and not as a volleyball player.

Marquette head coach Ryan Theis thinks what Murray and Skrabak did is good for the greater community.

“I love that they’re willing to do that for the good of the athletic community, for the good of Marquette and for all young athletes out there, and I love that they’re willing to share and be open about it,” Marquette head coach Ryan Theis said. “If they can help other people or younger people, I’m all for it.”

It is not only their head coach taking notice.

Sophomore outside hitter Jenna Reitsma said she understands how this could help young athletes who look up to Murray or Skrabak.

“It’s definitely awesome because it’s just so vulnerable, to be able to put yourself out there on a platform like that and just share with other athletes,” Reitsma said. “But I think stuff like that is so important because maybe there’s a little volleyball player who follows say Carson or Carly online and they’re thinking these same feelings.”

Anyone watching the game can notice a limp or knee brace. What’s not visible is, if they’re struggling with their mental health.

“You have to have both and that’s what a lot of people don’t realize,” Skrabak said. “They focus on physical health and stuff that you can see, but the mental health is just as important. You can’t see it, so that’s why we need to keep talking about it.”

Resources for help with mental health

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline can be reached via a phone call which is available in multiple languages. It can be reached over text in English only or by using the online chat feature.

Marquette University also has resources within its counseling center located on the second floor of Holthusen Hall. Students can call 414-288-7172 to speak with a counselor and set up a consultation time.

There are also additional mental health services available in the City of Milwaukee on its website.

This story was written by Ben Schultz. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @benschultz52.

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