Since mid-January, three Chippewa Falls Senior High School juniors have dedicated an hour or two each day to a project that’s a first for Chi-Hi.
Will Butak, Joe Forster and Aidan Detienne – aided by fellow students, teachers and a generous amount of elbow grease – are organizing a 5K and two-mile run for Saturday, April 7. The three high school juniors hope the “Run for Hope” will raise awareness for a problem weighing heavily on many schools and students throughout the country: suicide.
“Whenever a suicide happened, it affected not only the family, but the entire community as a whole,” Forster said. “You could just feel it within the school, that it wasn’t the same. Nothing was the same.”
The three planned the race through Chi-Hi’s chapter of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), a group for would-be medical professionals.
The two-mile begins at 11 a.m. and the 5K at noon, both at Chi-Hi’s Dorais Field, 735 Terrill St. The proceeds will be donated to Prevent Suicide Wisconsin, a training, awareness and crisis line resource. The profits will go directly to suicide prevention in Chippewa County, Butak said – something they looked for while they were organizing the race.
“You hear about all the time … how everyone’s calling for more information to get out,” Butak said. “We’re going to have five to six booths (at the race), places where you can get help, get information from … we’re helping to get the doors to open a little more.”
Pre-registration for the race begins this week and extends through Friday, March 16. Interested students and community members can sign up between 3:50 – 5 p.m. daily until Friday at Chi-Hi, just inside the main entrance. Admission, a food basket and a t-shirt is $20; at the event, race participation is $25. For those cheering or watching on the sidelines, admission at the event is $5.
The three hope to make the run an annual tradition, they said.
“It’s super close to everybody, obviously, because we’ve all seen it and gone through that, kind of. It’s gotten a lot of attention and support from the teachers and staff,” Butak said.
“We’re hoping to make this really big,” Detienne added.
Suicide isn’t the only struggle the three students are trying to bring into the spotlight.
“Depression’s definitely the big epidemic at this age,” Detienne said. “A lot of pressure and everything. We’re just trying to make sure that you can deal with it in a good way and there’s hope.”
The Chi-Hi HOSA Run for Hope will be held Saturday, April 7 at 11 a.m. at Dorais Field.