Editor’s Note: If you or a loved one have contemplated suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.
Friends and loved ones of Stanford University star soccer player Katie Meyer, who died by suicide earlier this month, will pay their respects at a memorial service on Saturday.
Meyer, who helped secure the 2019 NCAA women’s soccer championship for her school, was found dead in her dorm room on March 1, the university has said. A medical examiner determined her cause of death was suicide.
Meyer’s parents are asking the public for their privacy to be respected ahead of the memorial service at Newbury Park High School Stadium in Newbury Park, California.
“We are very grateful for the generous outpouring of support for Katie and our family and thank you all deeply. Katie was a bright light in our lives and the lives of so many. Her light will continue to shine through the changes that we intend to accomplish in her honor,” Steve and Gina Meyer said in a statement to CNN.
“When the time is appropriate, we will provide further information regarding the desired and necessary change to prevent this tragedy from happening to other students and their families. We ask that everyone respect our family’s privacy and give us the time we need to heal.”
Meyer was a senior at Stanford, where she studied International Relations and was team captain as well as goalkeeper on the soccer team.
In an emotional interview with NBC’s “Today” show on March 4, Gina Meyer expressed anguish as her family grieved Katie – saying the days following her death were “like a parent’s worst nightmare and you don’t wake up from it, so it’s just horrific.”
Her parents told NBC that they had spoken with their daughter hours before she died.
“She was excited and she had a lot on her plate, and she had a lot going on, but she was happy. She was in great spirits,” Gina Meyer said.
Gina Meyer acknowledged the pressure to be perfect and “the best” could induce anxiety. But “the only thing we can come up with that triggered something,” she said, was some form of disciplinary action at school. Katie had recently defended a teammate on campus over an incident and she was facing repercussions because of it, her parents said, pointing to that as the possible turning point for their daughter.
Last week, Stanford said in a statement it has begun the process of adding more mental health counseling professionals to its staffing and encouraged people to seek the school’s counseling and psychological services.
“For all in our community who are suffering, know that whatever feelings are arising in you are normal and need time to be felt. There’s no one way or right way to grieve, and we are here to support each other as we find our own paths to healing,” the university said.
A GoFundMe has been established by friends and family for Meyer’s memorial service.
CNN’s Cheri Mossburg and Stella Chan contributed to this report.