Family raises nearly $12,000 for Building Hope Summit County in the wake of 25-year-old son’s death
Kyle Huebsch, who struggled with mental illness, died by suicide in November 2020
The Huebsch family can best be described as a close-knit, introverted bunch that retreats to Summit County for quality time spent skiing, hiking and taking advantage of everything the community has to offer. When Castle Pines residents Todd and Lynda Huebsch bought their first condo in Keystone in 2007, they knowingly instilled a fondness and love for Summit County in each of their three boys. They all feel such an attachment to the community that it’s here where they decided to memorialize their eldest son and brother, Kyle.
Growing up, Kyle had a range of hobbies that kept him busy: He played competitive soccer, he was a fan of chess, and he was known for racing down the mountain on his skis. But it wasn’t what he could do that was most remembered by others, rather, it was his genuine empathy for people — that and his seemingly spiritual nature.
“I called him my Buddha boy because he just had this old soul aura about him,” Kyle’s mother, Lynda said. “… Some people just come out of the womb so much more knowledgeable about life than most people can hope to ever have. Material things weren’t important to him.”
Kyle was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 22 years old, but his parents say he started to change his senior year of high school. Kyle tore his meniscus around this time, meaning he was benched from soccer. Looking back, Lynda said she thought that’s why he started pulling away from friends. Now she believes that was when her son’s brain started to change.
“With schizophrenia, it basically happens when the child’s brain grows into its adult brain,” Lynda said. “It came on very gradually. … Looking back at it, his brain was developing into schizophrenia disorder, and he was pulling away from friends because that’s part of what the disorder does.”
After high school, Kyle attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins before moving to Steamboat Springs, where he lived at the family’s other vacation home. After one semester of school, he worked at Steamboat Resort as an EMT. During this time, his family continued to pick up on warning signs. Though he had friends at work, Lynda said he rarely socialized in his free time.
Kyle was diagnosed in his early 20s, which was a shock to the family. His father, Todd, started researching his own family’s history to get some answers.
“After asking around, I (learned I) had an uncle who was hospitalized. And thinking back on it, I never asked a lot of questions about it,” Todd said. “… For whatever reason, the family never talked about it. (Eventually), they did tell me he had schizophrenia.”
• Colorado Crisis Services: 844-493-8255 or text “talk” to 38255
• For life-threatening emergencies, call 911
The next few years were difficult on Kyle and his family. He was admitted into a psychiatric hospital four times, two of which were for nearly one-month stays. His parents got him on medication, but he’d still sometimes enter psychosis, where he couldn’t discern his delusions from reality.
One of these episodes happened in September 2020. Todd said the family was in Dillon when they began to realize Kyle was entering a state of psychosis. Knowing that he’d need a psychiatric hospital — and that Summit County didn’t have one — the family quickly got in the car and started driving down to the Front Range.
It wasn’t just the delusions that Kyle was fighting against. Lynda and Todd said they believe the side effects of his medication also played a role in his decline.
Kyle was admitted and stayed for about a week before he was released. A couple of months later, in November 2020, he died by suicide. He was 25.
Lynda said the family found a note after his death. On it, Kyle had written only one regret: that he hadn’t done more to help others in a similar position as him. After that, Lynda said she made it her mission to spread awareness about mental health.
“I took that chapter of his regrets in life, and I thought, ‘OK, he’s not going to have any regrets,’” Lynda said. “I’m going to go forward with that and help others on his behalf, and that’s really what the impetus was for me to partner with Building Hope.”
Lynda said she chose to partner with Building Hope Summit County partly because it was based in the community her family and Kyle loved so much and partly because smaller communities like Summit County have less access to resources for mental health.
Lynda reached out to Building Hope in June to set up an ongoing fundraiser where people could donate in Kyle’s name. That fundraiser officially went live in September, a week before Kyle’s birthday, and since then, it has raised nearly $12,000.
Lynda and her family are also working to install a bench near Isak Heartstone, the 15-foot-tall troll in Breckenridge. Engraved on the bench will be resources for mental health as well as a QR code where individuals can donate to the fundraiser. Lynda said she hopes the highly trafficked location will continue to generate donations for Building Hope in the future.
To learn more about Kyle and to donate, visit Bit.ly/KHFund.
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