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Walking with Purpose
I wasn’t walking anywhere six years ago. In fact, I could barely take the few necessary steps from my bed to the bathroom without breaking down in tears from the excruciating pain it caused. I felt useless and hopeless. But just like the picture below says, there was and is HOPE! Thankfully instead of ending my life, I reached out for help. Part of what gave me hope was taking a different approach to how I dealt with my chronic pain. The changes I made six years ago saved my life. The new additions to my pain management plan added in November of 2016 allows me to help others in ways I never imagined possible. But this post is not about my pain management plan, click here to read about that, this post is about how regaining my ability to walk without pain has given me purpose and provides hope for me and others.
Making Every Step Count
Whether I am using my rollator or walking without a mobility aid, I am walking with purpose. It started with my physical and mental health. As the distance I was able to walk increased, my body and mind felt better. It felt great to do something that my doctors had given no hope of ever doing again. Now that I see that my pain relief isn’t a fluke or short term remission, I feel confident in committing to helping others by putting one foot in front of the other.
Choosing a Cause
Choosing my first walk to raise money and awareness for was actually easy. The cause I chose was suicide prevention. My reasons for choosing it are many. First, there was my own desire to commit suicide six years ago. Next was my continuing battle with depression. Although I am much better than I was, depression is an ugly beast that lies below the surface waiting to taunt me or persuade me to believe that I am worthless. Several members of my family have lost friends to depression and suicide earlier this year. Choosing suicide prevention and support for those left behind was a no brainer. As someone who walks a thin line when it comes to revisiting my past demons, I cannot provide the support that people who have lost someone to suicide need. But the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention can and does.
A Worthy Cause
The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention‘s mission is to save lives and to bring hope to those affected by suicide by following five core strategies:
1. Fund scientific research
2. Offer educational programs for professionals
3. Educate the public about mood disorders and suicide prevention
4. Promote policies and legislation that impact suicide and prevention
5. Provide programs and resources for survivors of suicide loss and people at risk, and involve them in the work of the Foundation
A Cause I will Always Support
I am glad that I chose to raise money and awareness for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention this year and will do so again next year. Yep, get ready to get blasted with social media posts asking for your support next year!! Besides knowing that the money raised will be used to help saves lives, this event showed me how much they care about those who have been affected by suicide. The event itself was family friendly. People, young and old were in attendance. The location was suitable for people of all physical abilities. There were strollers, wheelchairs, rollators, and best of all tons of dogs!!! There were free beads for people to wear that represented what they were there for. Whether it be a personal struggle, loss of a loved one, or for no other reason than supporting this fantastic foundation. There was a booth to make bracelets in honor of a loved one and another to make a sign stating who they were walking for. As I sit here writing this blog post this evening, my heart aches thinking about all the people who gathered this morning. Seeing how many people have been affected by either the loss of a loved one who committed suicide or who have or are currently battling depression or another mental illness was eye opening. And this was just one event, in one state, in one county, in one city, in one park….. Imagine if we could see everyone else across the country or even around the world?