Man and running buddy to run 1,000 miles in honor of mom and suicide prevention

Man and running buddy to run 1,000 miles in honor of mom and suicide prevention

. - It many times happens out of the blue and it happened to WTOL's Tim Miller last year.

His aunt took her own life, after battling anxiety and physical ailments.

But she kept hidden her signs of severe depression, even from her immediate family.  She left behind a family that loved her, including one of Tim's cousins who lives in Monroe, Michigan.

Another cousin is not running away from losing his mom. In fact, he's running, a lot, to save lives.

"Really, it's just about preparing yourself physically and mentally for being on your legs for 8 to 10 hours a day," said Tad Meyer, Tim's cousin.

Tad is an avid runner from Indiana who now lives in Maryland. He's about to begin an incredible journey called the SOS 1,000 Mile Run.

He and his close friend Alex Hall, a firefighter in Henrico County, Virginia, will start their long run on Saturday.

"It's a little daunting but when you try not to look at the finish line, but you just break it down into chunks, you realize I just have to get through one day of 40 miles. And then the next day and then the next day," Meyer said.

They'll run a marathon and a half, every day, for 25 days, from the Bruce Trail in Ontario Canada to the Erie Canalway Trail in upstate New York, from Buffalo to Albany.

SOS stands for See Our Symptoms and it's a run to boost mental health awareness and suicide prevention in memory of Tad's mother.

Tad and Alex have a fundraising campaign with a goal of raising $20,000. They're currently more than half way there. Anyone interested in donating can do so here.

"It's okay to not be okay. And if we can accomplish that, if we can save a life or just break down barriers to get people to talk about it more, then we feel like our mission will be accomplished," Meyer said.

Jen Wakefield, coordinator for the  Lucas County Suicide Prevention Coalition, said she can't wait to see the SOS Run take off.

"It wasn't just an out of the blue idea, it was, this is my pain and this is how I'm going to take it and do something great and make an impact. Which I'm positive they are," Wakefield said.

Wakefield said there were 78 reported suicides in Lucas County in 2017 but there were likely many more. Some aren't called suicide if there isn't a clear picture of what happened and sometimes the symptoms truly can't be seen.

"And that's really difficult because we are told of these signs of hopelessness or withdrawal from every day happiness. Over eating, under eating, we have all these signs that you could Google but many times there's no signs and there's no way to know," Wakefield added.

The age group that is seeing the biggest increase in suicides in our area is white men ages 45 to 53.

Wakefield said workplace stress could be a reason, or the kids are out of the house and they're lonely, or maybe their career never went the way they had hoped.

"There's so many ideas that it could be, but we're working very hard to combat it," she said.

While other age groups aren't seeing an increase locally, social media continues to put pressure on pre-teens and teens. And bullying can also cause suicides.

So Tad Meyer and Alex Hall's run is for anyone who needs help, making their symptoms come out of the dark.

"Knowing that my mom is watching over us and that she's going to be with us every step of the way and that we're doing this in her honor, that's going to push us and drive us to keep going, even when our legs are tired, when everything hurts," Meyer said.

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