Ryan Seacrest contest winner brings awareness to suicide prevention

NEW YORK -- Ryan Seacrest described it as one of his most emotional moments ever on radio.

"It was definitely powerful, and I found it difficult continuing with the show in a way because it was real life and real hard life," he said.

The co-host of "Live with Kelly and Ryan" and host of "American Idol" was doing his daily radio show on KIIS-FM when a contest-winning call to a listener turned serious.

Juliana Toedt, of Menifee, California, heard about the Ultimate Prom on KIIS last Tuesday as she drove her kids to school.

She decided to enter her high school senior daughter, Kailey, into the contest, and then just yesterday (March 27) got the call from Ryan Seacrest that they had won.

Kailey and her mother were thankful and appreciative to have won the prom giveaway, but the opportunity to chat on-air turned into a far more important conversation.

"I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you guys," Juliana shared. "Our family right now is broken, and this couldn't have come at a better time. So thank you guys, we appreciate it. We have just lost one of our children last week...I want to use this platform...to give out the information to the suicide prevention line to save another family from being broken...This call meant more than we could ever imagine...we're going through a lot of emotions from anger, guilt, just everything, so this call just gave us a little blessing and is helping us a lot."

On the same day that she entered the contest, one of her eight children, Issac, took his life.

Issac, 21, was found by his grandmother, with whom he lived. There were some signs he was struggling. He never wanted to be left alone, but no one ever thought he'd take his life.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

When Ryan called Juliana about the contest, she said she knew she needed to speak about what happened in the hopes of saving someone else. The conversation left Ryan and the rest of the team and listeners in tears.

"I didn't really know what to say, but I felt this rawness in her voice and emotion," Seacrest said.

Ryan tweeted about the call too.

"After we went to break, I wanted to thank her for the message she sent," he said. "People were already calling in who had been through this before."

Since speaking out, Juliana says they've received a tremendous amount of support and people wanting to help them.

Ryan said he spoke to Juliana again after the call to make sure she was OK.

"We sent them groceries, pizzas, just things to create any normalcy, and that was something we tried to do," he said.

As for Kailey, she is graduating this year from high school. She has played football and rugby, and she is on the wrestling team. She hopes to join the military after graduating.

Before winning the contest, she didn't have much to spend on the prom. She used money she got from the sale of Girl Scout cookies to pay for her ticket. Now, she has a $500 gift certificate to Windsor's for a dress and $500 Visa gift card to buy what she needs.

Her prom is April 27.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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