North Liberty man plans to bike nearly 1,000 miles to raise money for veteran suicide awareness
IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - In less than a week, avid biker Justin Clark raised $250 for veteran mental health and suicide awareness. After seeing a 250 Mile Cycling Challenge created by Stop Soldier Suicide, Clark said he wanted to help the cause. In less than two weeks, he reached $500.
“It’s really just to get out there and raise awareness. Monetary donations are great, they all go to the organization to help,” Clark said.
According to officials with the Iowa City Veteran’s Hospital, Clark’s efforts are important now more than ever. Robert Otto, the suicide prevention coordinator at the hospital, said suicide awareness, especially among veterans, is growing.
”Military veterans are nearly twice as likely to die by suicide than the general population of the United States. We lose, on average, 17 to 20 veterans a day from suicide,” Otto said.
Otto said suicide can be a taboo topic among veterans. He hopes putting this subject out there will break down any walls of silence about it.
”It’s just important to get the word out and address that stigma so that people feel a little bit more comfortable talking with people they might be concerned about,” Otto said.
For every dollar raised, Clark wants to match that in distance. His goal is to raise $1,000. To donate, click here.
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