We have a close friend who lost his 21-year-old son last year. His beautiful son was suffering from addiction and other mental health issues, so the importance of what this organization is doing is immeasurable.

Our family remembers those early days of grief and how difficult they were. Years later, it’s still not easy, but it has become more bearable. We’ve learned how to cope better and handle our grief for Reece so that we can still live and honor him and try to make a difference for others and their families struggling with the pain of mental illness.

In 2016 I was inspired by my youngest daughter to run the Race for Steak and then walk afterwards as a family. I was a runner when I was younger, so I started running again! I was able to run with my Jenna in honor of my son and her brother; it was a beautiful experience to run with my daughter side-by-side for our amazing Reece.

When I crossed the finish line, I knew that Reece was there in spirit cheering us on. We talked about him—the beauty and simplicity of his life, as well as the pain, as we ran surrounded by the beautiful scenery of that nature trail. How I treasure that time with my daughter and the energy of my son that I felt running along beside us each step of the way! The rest of our family cheered us on at the finish line and then we all walked together afterwards!

Inspired by my son to run for the illness he struggled with so desperately, I am now running on a regular basis. At 54, it has been great for me for many reasons!

I intend to run and walk again in honor and memory of my precious Reece, and how amazing and loving he was during the 21 years we shared with him until he crossed over to the other side. What a powerful experience it is for our family when we look around and see others who understand and support the importance of everyone’s mental health. The strength of that unity is such a blessing!

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