A former Drumheller woman made an inspiring journey of more than 100 kilometres by foot to raise awareness and funds for Suicide prevention.
Jessi Durant-Chayer was up with the sun Friday morning, August 9, and didn’t stop until almost 10 p.m, on that evening after running 102 kilometres, more than two ultra-marathons from Strathmore to the Drumheller Fire Department. In her pocket, she had photos of some of her “angels” including friend and former Calgary Fire Department Captain Barry Dawson. The inspiration for her run.
“This is who I started it for, Barry Dawson and he lost his life on November 11, 2017. He was an advocate in the firefighting community for positivity and mental health and I think it is a good lesson to know that the strong people, we need to check on them too,” she said at the conclusion of her race. “There are people struggling out in the open but sometimes we forget the people who are helping everybody else.”
She received a warm reception from family and supporters including former teachers who greeted her at the end of her run. Member of the Drumheller Fire Department opened the hall for her arrival.
An avid runner she will have completed four ultra marathons this season alone. This was her second run to raise awareness. Last summer she stared this birthday tradition running 50 miles. This year she bit off a lot more, and it was the longest distance she has run.
She set off that morning with a song. Good friend and singer, Tobey Kai, performed beside her at the starting line with a song inspired by Durant-Chayer. It also gave her strength on the final difficult leg.
“I listened to my friend’s song. She wrote it for me, and it has a double meaning. She knows I love my running, and at the beginning of this year in January, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and a rare form of cancer,” she explains. “She wrote this for me and that is what has gotten me through this.”
Her run was in benefit of the Centre for Suicide Prevention.
“They run an extensive program for anybody who wants to come and educate themselves on those signs of suicide,” she explains.
This includes programs for all kinds of groups including minorities, veterans, and first responders. The organization also has a distress line that is available around the clock. So far she has raised over $800 and counting.
For more information go to suicideinfo.ca or check out Jessi's Birthday Fundraiser for Centre for Suicide Prevention on Facebook.