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Cleveland teen turns personal tragedy into help for others through suicide prevention efforts

Josh Ruminski started Happy Thoughts Candle Co.
Posted at 8:07 PM, Dec 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-26 20:07:22-05

A Cleveland teenager has turned his personal tragedy into hope for hundreds of others.

Josh Ruminski, 17, is celebrating one year as the creator of “Happy Thoughts” Candles. The candles have inspirational sayings on the front, and the phone numbers to call and text the suicide prevention hotline on the back.

Ruminski was 12 years old the first time he tried to take his own life.

“We can see a physical illness, but we can’t see a mental illness,” he said of his battle with anxiety and depression. His dad Jamie Ruminski said he and his wife never saw the signs — they only saw their confident young son.

After the first attempt, Ruminski went to therapy and counseling and, eventually, he found his spark — he started his candle company with the hope of helping others.

“That’s where Josh has always been,” Jamie Ruminski said. “Josh has always been the one to go out and help somebody.”

The candles cost $7 apiece, and 20 percent of the proceeds go toward suicide prevention. The candles are also made out of recycled tomato sauce cans, and the sauce is donated to local homeless shelters. More than 2,000 candles have been sold. 

They are available online and at certain stores in Northeast Ohio, including The Salvage Yard Resale Shoppe in Fairview Park.