Less than two weeks until I run the Chicago Marathon for AFSP! Other than a lingering cough I feel great. Running strong. Staying healthy. Raising awareness. Sharing stories. Saving lives. My long run was 23 miles – pushed by my friend Jen to go way faster than I ever planned to go in a marathon (if the weather is cool & dry on race day we’ll see what happens, but I’m just as happy to finish slower with a smile on my face).
One of the spectators lining up to watch me on my training run this past weekend!
At the end of August, I had a great 13 miles in Grand Marais, MN. There is a mile-long hill leading down into town along Lake Superior. In years past maybe I would run up that hill once. This time I did it five times (grey bumps in the graph). Up and down, up and down. Just like those facing struggles each day, if you look at the map view you don’t see my ups and downs, you don’t know what I was going through (especially each time at the bottom when I’d tell myself “What hill”!). The pic with elevation tells the real story! Try not to judge what others are going through – you may never know – just be there for them and listen which can make all the difference. The run felt good. Beautiful scenery. Town was waking up. Helped me make room for the World’s Best Donuts later on.
For World Suicide Prevention Week in mid-September, we posted a few messages on a whiteboard outside of my office at work. A lot of the content came from the “Tomorrow Needs You” campaign by the nonprofit TWLOHA. Here are some of the pictures and content I shared on Facebook that week asking people to learn and help:
I can’t tell you how touched I am that the “KCMO lemonade girls” raised $16 for me this past week by selling lemonade. Thank you Boogie, Abby, Gigi and Evie! Boog is the daughter of one of my college roommates and her previous donation of $1 was already one of my favorite donations. EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR COUNTS. $1, $10, whatever, it all goes to the important cause of raising awareness to mental health issues, helping prevent suicide, and fighting the stigma.
And on this quiet street in Kansas City, in under a few hours of selling lemonade, two of their customers had stories to tell about suicide. Stories are everywhere. I know it can be hard, but sharing our stories and struggles helps fight the stigma. People will listen. I will listen. I carry your stories with me when I run.
And here’s why I do it. Love and miss you Katherine.
THANK YOU for your support. Tomorrow needs ME to keep raising awareness and fighting the stigma of mental health issues! Thank YOU for helping make a difference. WE are saving lives. It’s all about creating awareness. TALK to others. SHARE your story. LISTEN without judgment. TELL someone if you are struggling. YOU will get through this. WE are saving lives. I’d still love your DONATION too for this important personal cause. Please. This money allows the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to continue their wonderful, life-saving work. I promise I’ll earn it as I run the Chicago Marathon for AFSP in just a few weeks! Thanks for taking the time to read this! And thanks for all of the support already!
Two weeks to go – I’d love your support and donation. DONATE HERE to make a difference: https://afsp.donordrive.com/participant/Dave-Thompson
Good luck Dave with your marathon. I’ll be cheering you on from Bryce Canyon Utah. I will be thinking about your sister Katherine too. My daughter, Sarah, died by suicide 23 years ago at age 21. Being a suicide survivor is more than unbearably painful. Thank goodness for other survivors. I can’t imagine life without them, can you? Sally
I’m so sorry to hear that you too have been impacted so close by suicide. Yes, I absolutely feel connections to other suicide survivors – sharing our stories and memories helps so much. Thanks for reaching out and for your support. I’ll carry Sarah and so many others with me when I run. -Dave
It’s been exciting to follow you on your marathon journey. I love the passion you bring for awareness about suicide and the need for funding to provide prevention services. I find comfort hearing your story as it is parallel to my experience with my husband Kent. He took his life 3 months before Katherine. Despite many interventions they weren’t enough to prevent his suicide. I cant help but think that with greater understanding of mental health and more access to treatment he may have survived. Thank you for raising awareness and supporting a cause that can make strides in the research of greater understanding of prevention and more access to treatment for those who suffer. You truly are a light of hope and I know you will shine the whole 26 miles in Chicago!
Thank you so much for your note and for following along on my marathon journey. I’m sorry to hear about your husband, Kent. The top fundraiser on the AFSP team right now (no one is catching her!) lost her son less than a month after Katherine died. So many loved ones lost in that short window. I have also learned so much since Katherine died – I agree that increased awareness and fighting the stigma will help many others. Your words inspire me – I will try to shine the whole 26.2 miles 🙂 Thank you again for all of your support. Take care, Dave.
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