Sunday marked the second annual Taking Strides to Save Lives 5K and Remembrance Walk. The event, organized by the Fort Collins Alliance for Suicide Prevention, raised more than $7,000 for preventing suicide in the community.
“Our mission is to prevent suicides in Larimer County by raising awareness, education and training,” said Linda Maher, agency volunteer and representative for the Alliance for Suicide Prevention. “We teach youth and adults about depression and suicide, and provide resources and support to those who have been impacted.”
This year’s event had over 250 participants preregistered, and many more who registered the day of the event. The participants included many CSU students, like Colby Stoner, a junior studying industrial psychology.
“I was the second place finisher this year,” Stoner said. “I really support this cause. I actually just started volunteering for them because I’m in the National Guard and suicide is a big issue in the military. Whatever I can do to raise money for suicide prevention, I will.”
This year’s 5K was held on the CSU campus, and focused on grief support and providing a family environment for those impacted by suicide, said Marisa Martinez the executive director of the Alliance for Suicide Prevention.
“We at the Alliance focus on community outreach and education to end the stigma against suicide and mental illness,” Martinez said. “We work hand in hand with schools in Larimer County to give them the tools to know if they or someone they know has a problem and then provide them with information on how to reach out for help.”
According to the Alliance, one person in Larimer County dies from suicide every four to five days, and Colorado’s suicide rate is the eighth highest in the U.S. The best place to reach out for immediate help 24 hours a day is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
“Raising awareness and starting the conversation is so important so no one feels alone,” Maher said. “Remembering that all each of us can do is reach out and continue our mission.”
Collegian Reporter Emery Love can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @emerynlove