5K supports suicide awareness, prevention

The Alive and Running Suicide Prevention 5K run/walk is on Saturday, June 17 at 7:30 a.m. in Dunkerton.  The evening before, June 16, from 3-8 p.m., they will hold a Dove Balloon Release Ceremony.  This is an event where they bring in a guest speaker who has been impacted by suicide and have a reading of the names of loved ones lost to suicide.  The balloon release is in memory of loved ones lost to suicide.

The reason for the 5K is to raise awareness for suicide prevention.  Suicide impacts or has impacted far too many people and is known to have a negative stigma attached to it, so the event was put together by a group of friends after they lost a friend to suicide.

Andrea Frana, the wife of a police officer who took his life back in 2014, said, “This will be the third year for my family to participate in this event. We lost my husband, a lieutenant at the Waterloo Police Department, on Sept. 19, 2014. The following year, my children and I decided to get a team shirt together and get a group of friends and family to run in honor of him. This is an amazing thing and one of our favorite things to do in honor of him. We all come together to remember him, and it shows us that he is not forgotten. My children love seeing people wearing our shirts around town in honor of their dad. It is something that we look forward to every year, and it always falls on Father’s Day weekend, which is an awesome way to celebrate an incredible dad.”

This fallen officer had been struggling with depression due to stress and lack of sleep for only a few months.  He was prescribed medication, which had been adjusted during that short time. The doctor then took him off of the medication completely, a few days before he took his life.

He began struggling with depression in late June of 2014. He ended his life on Sept. 19, 2014.

Frana said many people who are benefited by events like this. “I believe that one of the things people will take away from this event is that they are not alone. There is more to ‘your story.’  Whether you are a person who lost someone to suicide or someone who is struggling and feel suicide is the only way out, you will learn something positive from this event. This events brings people together on one common ground. After attending one of these events, someone might even take the extra time to speak to someone they think might be struggling with something. That extra time may save someone’s life by just talking with them for a bit.”

For more information about the Alive and Running 5K, visit http://www.aliveandrunningiowa.com  to learn more.

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