Our Story

On June 6th 2011, Mark & Debbie Schantzer lost their 21 year old son to suicide. There were no signs, no warnings, and no answers. Nothing prepared them for this tragedy. Desmond’s death rocked the very core of their family’s existence and the pain they have known is beyond comprehension.

Sitting in grief is debilitating; working through grief is healing. This is the reason Mark, Debbie and their daughter Danielle joined with community partners to create the DES Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity and to organize the Walk for D.E.S.

Our Fundraising Goals

The Walk for D.E.S. raises funds to promote the awareness and prevention of suicide across Lancaster and York Counties.

Funds will be raised to:

  • Support iniatives designed to increase awareness and enhance the response to suicide in Lancaster and York Counties
  • Develop and distribute tools and resources to stop suicide throughout both counties
  • Provide emergency assistance to survivors

Why We Walk

Every 12.8 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide. Nearly 1 million people make a suicide attempt every year. In Lancaster County, approximately 50 individuals take their lives by suicide each year. Beyond the numbers, the ripple effect of suicide is staggering when viewed in the context of pain, loss and suffering to those who are left behind.

Help us lift the stigma that surrounds suicide and mental illness. Help us save lives and restore hope through awareness, prevention, and intervention.

WALK FOR D.E.S. is one of many ways to:

  • Honor the life of someone who died by suicide.
  • Show support to survivors of suicide.
  • Forward the cause of suicide awareness and prevention across Lancaster County and
  • Provide resources and tools aimed at preventing suicide.

Register for Upcoming Events

Donate to The D.E.S. Foundation

If you're unable to attend one of our walks, you can still contribute! Simply click the donate button below to be taken to our online donation page. Our continued goal is to raise much needed funding to support the work of our dedicated partners that are committed to raising awareness about suicide and to prevent these tragedies.

Other Ways to Contribute

You may also shop using Amazon Smile! By following the banner below, a portion of your Amazon purchases will go to support our foundation.


THE DES Foundation INC.

Mission Statement: The DES Foundation Inc is dedicated to promote Suicide Awareness and prevention across Lancaster County Pennsylvania. Its mission will provide resources and tools aimed at preventing suicide, as well as offering support to survivors of suicide.




Department of Psychiatry





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We provide support, comfort, and understanding. There is also information on coping skills, used for daily living after the loss from a suicide, while keeping a safe and confidential environment. For we know each of our situations is unique, no loss is the same, but being around others who know and understand what one is going through after such a loss helps in the grieving process and in healing.

In Memoriam