Kyle “KJ” Hamblin seemed to have it all: he was a successful young engineer, a pilot and a musician.

While he had some setbacks with the death of his grandmother and a breakup with a longtime girlfriend, his mother said she didn’t think it was more than sadness. He had never shown signs of depression growing up or as an adult. He was dating again and making plans for the future.

So nothing prepared his mother, Shari Kennedy, for the sight of her 29-year-old son hanging from a pull-up bar in his house on Oct. 5, 2016.

Kennedy had rushed to Hamblin’s Coventry Township home after she got a call from his co-workers at Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems in Akron, saying he didn’t show up for work. His mother knew as soon as she pulled up that something was wrong — all of the lights were still on inside and outside the house in the middle of the day.

When she went into the house, she saw her son’s motionless legs and feet at the end of the hallway.

“I just started yelling, ‘Are you OK? Are you OK?’ I couldn’t see anything,” Kennedy said.

Her son had hanged himself.

Kennedy rushed for a knife from the kitchen to cut down her only son and youngest of two children.

“Immediately when I cut him down, I knew it was too late,” she said. “I think I tried to call 911 four times and I couldn’t hit the buttons on my phone. They wouldn’t let me off the phone until they heard the sirens [at the house].”

Kennedy wants to use the death of her son and her grief to educate others about suicide prevention.

“Somebody has to find them, and nobody ever thinks about that. Somebody that loves them, has to find them,” Kennedy said.

“There isn’t a word that can describe that day. The thought in my head was ‘Are you kidding me?’ as I cut him down. I am the only person with that picture in my head — for the rest of my life.”

The family and Chris Campos, Hamblin’s co-worker and friend, are joining with Portage Path Behavioral Health to host KJ’s 5K for Mental Health and Animal Rescue, to be held at Portage Lakes State Park on Oct. 7, almost a year to the day of Hamblin’s suicide.

Funds raised during the 5K will benefit the agency, an affiliate of the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board.

The 5K will be an opportunity for people to honor Hamblin, who was a runner. Participants can run with their own dogs, take one of the rescues that will be available for a run or adoption and talk to Hamblin’s family or counselors.

Organizers hope the 5K becomes an annual fundraiser for Portage Path, as well as an opportunity to raise awareness about suicide prevention.

Hamblin, a Coventry High School and University of Akron graduate, loved his dog and wanted to someday open an animal rescue group, Campos said.

Campos first met Hamblin in 2014 before Hamblin left on a nine-month training program for Meggitt, which would take him to Arizona and Switzerland before he came back to Akron. The two worked on a team together.

After her son’s death, Kennedy found out he had six patents pending or completed for Meggitt.

“[Kyle] was a very intelligent, very bright and very open minded,” Campos said. “That’s what made him very ideal to the innovation team.”

There was “nothing that pointed to that he was going to take his own life,” Campos said. “I think there were some signs that he was kind of mopey and in the dumps. He’d say he’s going on this date. I said, ‘Oh, great, you’re in a great position to impress girls. Think about it, you’ve got a pilot’s license. What about on the third or fourth date, you take her somewhere on a plane?’ He said, ‘I never thought about it.’ I was always encouraging him that he had a lot to offer. He needed more confidence, but there was nothing that indicated he was going to have issues.”

Hamblin left no suicide note, so his family and friends have been left wondering what happened. Kennedy believes her son made a split-second decision to end his life or maybe it was an accident since he would have been able to touch the ground with his feet. She does not, however, believe he was experimenting with an asphyxiation high.

She firmly believes that if her son had thought about the traumatizing impact his death had on the family, he would have made a different choice.

Kennedy said she hopes by sharing her son’s story and her family’s pain and grief, she can save just one life.

According to the American Association of Suicidology, more than 33,000 Americans die by suicide annually. It is estimated that for every suicide death there are at least six family members left behind to grieve, or what are sometimes called survivors. Based on this estimate, about 6 million American have lost a loved one to suicide in the last 25 years.

Kennedy’s message to anyone who is dealing with depression or thinking about suicide: Talk to someone. Call the Support Hotline at 330-434-9144. Local counselors with the Akron-based Portage Path Behavioral Center are available around the clock to talk confidentially to anyone who needs to talk about depression or suicidal thoughts.

People can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text 4HOPE to 741741 to be connected to someone.

“Sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone they don’t know than their own family,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said it’s very important to her that Portage Path’s Support Hotline services are free and the organization’s mental-health services are affordable, with fees charged on a sliding scale based on income.

For friends of a family who has lost a loved one to suicide, be present and don’t avoid them, Kennedy said.

“I know they’re just afraid,” she said. “I’ve had so many people say ‘I don’t have words, but I got a hug.’ ”

Tracy Yaeger, president of Portage Path, said Kennedy is brave to share her story.

After a suicide, “there’s a lot of self-blaming that goes on ... ‘You weren’t a great parent or didn’t find treatment.’ Those are big things to take on in addition to the things you’re already dealing with,” she said.

Kennedy adds that surviving family members should not go into a shell. “Nothing good is going to come out of that shell.”

Portage Path also offers a Survivors’ Support Group for family who have lost someone to suicide. Call 330-434-1214, ext. 4016, for more information.

Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or blinfisher@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/betty