Paul’s Race Across America (RAAM) Story *** Continue Reading ***
Today, on Tuesday June 13th I am starting my solo endeavor for Race Across America, in support for Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE). SAVE’s mission is to prevent suicide through public awareness and education, reduce stigma and serve as a resource to those touched by suicide.
I would like to set the stage for what is to come later in this message. While many people find it hard to fathom what a RAAM solo rider will go through, I expect to experience some (if not most) of the following conditions based on previous personal experiences. I am entering into this race with the full knowledge of these conditions/events:
Now, why would I put myself through so much for a race?
What only a couple of people in the world know before this race started was that in July of 1988 I was suicidal and was talking about taking my own life after the loss of my best friend. I had 2 people intervene, and got me some help/assistance. Without them, I don’t know if I would still be here today, much less racing for SAVE. For that Shari and Duane, I owe you a debt of gratitude that I can never repay.
All of the things that I will knowingly put myself through for this race (good and bad) are in order to help someone get help or help a grieving family. There is no amount of suffering that I can put myself through on this bike that even comes close to what someone trying to commit the ultimate act feels, or their friends/family if they had taken that step.
I am going to come forward and openly discuss my attempted suicide way back when. I am over the stigma of it, and if I didn’t tell anyone, what good does it do to help someone who might be suffering from the stigma, loss, etc.?
If I am willing to do this on my bike and am willing to discuss with others, what would you be willing to do?