I’ve sat down four times to write this, and am still tripping over emotion to “properly” express what I am feeling. You knowing me, wouldn’t expect proper, just from the heart and the hip, so here it goes…
My guess is that I’ve been at over 50 starting lines through the years. 50 races, 50 “I’ve put time, effort, planning, goals to make this _____.” A couple of these races are still with me: My first marathon, my first Ruthie’s Runners race (a surprise-to-my-Mom event that we had over 100 participate in its first year, raising money and awareness for ovarian cancer), and the 7800+ participant race I won a car for raising the most amount of money. This weekend I added a new race to this list of highlights. Please share your patience with me while I attempt to capture this succinctly.
May 25th, my boys and I volunteered at the tenth annual Jack Ride. We collected $4186 of the $1,263,454.60 raised with 100% of proceeds going to Youth Mental Health.
10 years ago March, Eric Windeler and Sandra Hanington’s son Jack, a first-year student at Queens University, tragically and unexpectedly died by suicide. Through this loss, their family made it their mission to help youth, and Eric is now a full-time advocate for youth mental health leading Jack.org, in the legacy of his son Jack.
My boys and I rode in the Jack Ride race in 2018 and decided that day, we would do it again the following year. The 2019 race sold out in just 3 weeks and we lost our opportunity to ride race day. Instead we rode the distance the weekend before, and committed to volunteering the day of to support the event success.
Race day was rain day. Not a little drizzle day. A full torrential “hear me ROAR” rain. Imagine what 1000 disappointed bikers could look like.
Now erase that image from your mind.
Instead imagine 1000 “let’s do our best” participants.
Riders in rain gear, covered in road slime & mud – giving it their everything because they, like Korly, Nate and I, have committed to this cause.
Mental health is the #1 health risk in the world. Period.
One Million people globally commit suicide annually. 90% of those are mental health linked cases.
Saturday, my boys spent the entire day with driven, determined, passionate, heart-led, we’re making change people.
And all these people are being led by Jack’s Dad, Eric and his vision for Youth Mental Health.
Weather didn’t matter.
Adjusted race routes didn’t matter.
Time delays and cars stuck in the mud didn’t matter.
Doing what we all came to do, is all that mattered.
To be at an event like this – I still can’t quite capture to words.
I’m emotional typing this.
I watched my boys lead with values Saturday that they have been raised by, while being surrounded by 1000 others doing the same.
Proud. Determined. Ready to do & give more.
We, all of us, can turn youth mental health around.
There is much work to be done.
And the efforts of the staff and volunteers at Jack.org are making a difference.
Thank you to 49 of you who sponsored our participation.
Thank you to each of you reading this, increasing your awareness about Youth Mental Health.
We’ll be back next year – and our fundraising goal is Big! Xo