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‘UnLocke the Light’ brings increased attention, funding to mental health awareness at second basketball classic

Sean Locke's siblings display the total raised at the SL24 Memorial Classic to support the UnLocke the Light Foundation. (Dialog photo/Mike Lang)

WILMINGTON — The second annual SL24 Memorial Classic, held on Feb. 8 at the 76ers Fieldhouse in Wilmington, brought in about $25,000 more that the inaugural event. The events of the day, which included six high school basketball games, brought in $233,445 to raise money for the UnLocke the Light Foundation to battle, and awareness of, mental illness.

Sean Locke was 23 when he committed suicide in July 2018. “Sean’s House” in Newark will open Sept. 24 and will be available to high school and college students seeking help and resources to battle mental illness. It will be in the house where Locke lived for three years while a student at the University of Delaware.

Chris Locke addresses the crowd at the 76ers Fieldhouse before the Salesianum-Saint Mark’s game. (Dialog photo/Mike Lang)

Chris Locke, Sean’s father, addressed the crowd before the final game of the evening, which pitted Salesianum against Sean’s alma mater, Saint Mark’s. In addition to thanking everyone for their support, he relayed some sobering statistics about mental illness and depression and the toll they can take on a family. He also encouraged people to not be afraid to ask for help.

At one point, the lights in the fieldhouse were dimmed as people affected by mental illness and suicide turned on the flashlights on their cell phones as a show of support. The crowd included five Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales from Mount Aviat Academy in Childs, Md., which Sean attended.

Earlier in the afternoon, Padua freshman Patricia Locke, Sean’s sister, was promoted from junior varsity to varsity for the Pandas’ game against Ursuline. She wore No. 24, as had her brother. In the Saint Mark’s game, Sean’s brother Aedan, a senior, started the game and drew huge applause when he hit a three-pointer for the Spartans’ first points.