Henrico firefighter and friend begin 1,000-mile run for suicide prevention

HENRICO, Va. — The 1000-mile fundraising journey of Henrico firefighter Alex Hall and his Maryland friend Thaddeus Meyer started on May 26 in Ontario.

Alex and Thaddeus have run long distances together for the past decade, but this journey is very personal.

The fundraising event is called See Our Symptoms (SOS) Run: a Million Steps to Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention.

Alex is running in support of Thaddeus, whose mother committed suicide in April 2017.

“I really had nothing to say but I’m here for you and let me know what you want to do,” Alex said. “So we talked again later that week and he said ‘hey I want to do something to raise funds for suicide prevention.'”

“We later came to the conclusion it will be 500 plus miles, then we said ‘alright let’s do 1,000 miles,'” Alex said.

“For 70 years, she was the embodiment of joy, affection, compassion, goodness, tenderness, and pure love,” Thaddeus wrote on the event page for the run. “She was a devoted wife of nearly 50 years to my father, and she adored her four children almost as much as her twelve grandchildren.”

Thaddeus said that his mother hid her symptoms of depression so well that no one could see how much anguish she was in, and shortly after her 72nd birthday, she took her own life. Reflecting back, he writes that the signs “were there and, yet somehow, we all failed to see them.”

Averaging 40 miles per day, the pair will tackle the entire Bruce Trail in Ontario, Canada, then continue on the Erie Canal Way trail in Upstate New York from Buffalo to Albany.

In addition to the logistics involved, they have to prepare their bodies to handle the long distance. The runners are writing about that process on the Facebook page for the event, here. 

Alex and Thaddeus have raised over $13,000 of their $20,000 goal. You can click this link to donate and track their progress.