In 2014 the nation saw an explosion of giving thanks to the now famous ALS ice bucket challenge. It was an amazing and inspiring thing to see. A very worthy cause got much needed support and funding because a few people took it to another level with a great idea. Gosh, I wish I would have thought of that! Since 2011, I have been doing a yearly fundraising campaign to support suicide prevention and awareness by running a marathon (this cause being near to my heart since losing my mom to suicide in 2006). Like ALS, mental illness is a terrible disease that steals those we love from us. However, unlike ALS, mental illness is 100% treatable and never has to end in death (suicide). Additionally, mental illness differs from most other health related causes because it holds a stigma and a shroud of secrecy that keeps it from the “lime-light” of giving. People often do not receive the help they need due to lack of available treatment options or worse because they are too embarrassed to ask. Furthermore, the very nature of mental illness can prohibit a person from seeking treatment. That’s why awareness programs and funding are so important. Statistics tell us about 25% of our population will be diagnosed with a mental illness in their lifetime meaning this disease is much more common than cancer, heart disease or even diabetes.
Can you help me start a new giving phenomenon in 2015? I have started training for my fifth Suicide Sucks Run. As many of you know from past years and blogs, I am not a talented athlete. I put in all the miles required, I’ve run that final race to the finish line and I’ve thrown up those last miles but still ended with a smile. This year I am challenging myself by not only logging the miles but trying to get to the root of my problem by getting the help of my Memorial Health co-workers, Grant Smith – Strength and Conditioning Coach and Kelly Daum -Wellness Coach. Grant is helping me (and quite honestly kicking my 43 year old behind) by putting me through a training program that reinforces technique and mechanics. Kelly is helping me with my nutrition and emotional stability thru monitoring my progress in a healthy way. I hope at the end of the day on May 9, 2015 I will have not vomited once and the smile will still be on my face.
Since I am pushing myself, I’m going ask you to push yourself as well AND take a page from the ice bucket challenge. I challenge you to donate whatever amount you can and when you do, pass it on. Challenge two of your friends to take the plunge and donate as well. Give them your own brand of “penalty” for not joining in. As many of my friends know, I’m not too proud to call people out and it seems to work. I’m going for a lofty goal this year of $10,000. I know we can do it. So do what you must Go to www.savealifelc.org for a donate link
BTW – Posting a video on your Facebook doing something entirely uncomfortable in the name of suicide prevention would totally make my day. I’ve vomited in public the last five years so show me what you got!
To know more about my story, the journey I’ve been on and the agencies I’m partnering with please go to my sites www.suicidesucksrun.org and www.here4hope.org .