Late Marble Falls reality TV star remembered for racing passion

Contributed
After Marble Falls resident Chaz White took his own life, his family launched an effort to bring attention to suicide prevention awareness and mental illness.

 

 

 

By Lew K. Cohn
Managing Editor •

Christopher Raymon “Chaz” White, 30, loved to ride fast and turned his passion for racing into success on dirt bike tracks across the country when he was young.

However, he could not outrace the demons which tortured him within as he grappled with mental illness and depression, which unfortunately also got him into trouble with the law a few times. On Sunday, Aug. 12, White's biggest race ended as he took his own life.

His family has set up a GoFundMe account to defray the cost of funeral expenses and to bring attention to Chaz' life as well as the need for suicide prevention awareness and support for people suffering from mental illness.

A celebration of Chaz' life will be held at 2 p.m. Aug. 25 at Clements-Wilcox Funeral Home, 1805 US 281 North, Marble Falls.

My brother has battled multiple mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, and manic depressive disorder, since a very young age,” said Brittany Lilley, White's younger sister. “On Sunday, August 12, his struggles became too much for him to handle, and in this state of weakness, he chose to take his own life.”

White may be familiar to those who watched MTV's reality show “True Life.” He was featured in the season 14 episode, “I'm Getting Out of Prison,” which documented his release from a Woodville, Texas, prison and his effort to assimilate back into life in Marble Falls — including getting a job and practicing for his driver's license test — as he tried to come to grips with his newfound freedom.

White's family describe him as a “fun-loving young man with a heart of gold” who would always lend a helping hand to those in need. His four sisters — Samantha Henson, Megan Gibson, Lauren White and Lilley — all considered him to be their hero.

Born Nov. 13, 1987, in Scottsdale, Arizona, the son of Robert White and Sonya Garrison, Chaz White developed a love of sports at an early age and was a standout in baseball, football, water sports, dance and acrobatics.

However, it was on the motocross track where young Chaz excelled as he won many local and regional championships before claiming a national title as well and getting sponsorship offers.

Video of White at age 11 which was aired as part of “True Life” shows a cheerful, happy-go-lucky boy who seemed most at home on a dirt bike. During the episode, viewers also saw a glimpse of his room, which was filled with hundreds of trophies.

However, by his own admission, by the time Chaz was 16 or 17, he “started slacking off. We had some money problems and I couldn't ride all the time, so I started getting into drugs and trying to find that adrenaline addiction somewhere else.”

He was incarcerated for three years for stealing cars and an assault behind bars before being released in 2008.

For 10 years after his release, Chaz White tried to battle the multiple mental illnesses which plagued him throughout his life, but eventually, he chose to end his own life to end the emotional and mental pain which afflicted him on a daily basis. Sadly, his story is all too familiar for those who work in the mental health field.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States for all ages, and every day, approximately 105 Americans die by suicide — an average of one death every 12 minutes.

Suicide takes the lives of more than 38,000 Americans every year and there is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts nationwide. The suicide rate among males is four times higher than among females as male deaths represent 79 percent of all U.S. suicides, according to the CDC.

Depression affects 20 to 25 percent of Americans ages 18 and older in a given year, yet, according to the National Association for Mental Illness (NAMI), only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. . . .

Read more about Chaz and his family's effort to compile a memorial fund in the Tuesday Aug. 21 issue of The Highlander.

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