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Saving Kids' Lives In Pikangikum Is Of Paramount Importance
Three years ago, we were approached by the First Nations people of Pikangikum, Ontario. They were seeking out help from our organization, Addiction Free Youth, for our transformational programs to help them with a shocking suicide problem.
In Canada, Pikagikum has a big reputation. Pikangikum is notorious for being the suicide capital of the world (perhaps the title still stands). Teen suicides have been particularly prevalent in the community.
Imagine living the life of a teen in Pikangikum. You're stuck. You're parents are abusive alcoholics and you're stuck in a small poorly build home with them. They abuse each other, they abuse you - you can't escape it. There's nothing to do and you're in isolation.
But you love your land. You dream about a better life, you want to enjoy the intricacies of life. You can't physically leave, but you can escape the incessant negative thoughts and feelings - a couple of classmates know how... they get high huffing gasoline.
It's so easy, it's so cheap, and it's easy to steal when you have no money.
Being intoxicated is better than the reality you experience when you're sober. Then you hear news that you're friend decided to end their life. They couldn't take the abuse, and the living conditions, and the resignation. You think to yourself, "If my friend gave up, why am I still trying..."
This is a common occurrence amongst teenagers in Pikangikum. Suicides often happen shortly after one another, as reality gets more and more bleak.
Pikangikum Reached Out To Us For Help
This year, we cannot justify putting in over a hundred hours, finances, and energy into a race that only ever broken even, or made $1000.
Believe us, we don't want to make it about the money. The race is for passionate runners, who want to keep running in the winter months. We absolutely love the running community who comes out.
Pikangikum First Nations have reached out to us seeking our transformational programs for their youth.
We want to give them the full value of programs so we can actually make a difference. To deliver the thousands of dollars worth of programs this year, we decided to take a step back and re-evaluate what would serve our commitment to transforming kids' lives suffering from bullying, abuse, and addictions of all kinds.
We chose that the Run4RKids 2015 race will not go on, so we can focus on bringing in necessary funding for communities to receive our programs.
The Race Can Still Go On, With The Help Of A Few Good People
We would love to continue to host this race because it brings together such an amazing community.
It can still be a viable option if a few individuals came forward and volunteered their time to making this race happen. These individuals will be guided on how to make the race go on by Cindy Harris, Race Director for previous Run4RKids Ultra Marathons, and the past Executive Director of Addiction Free Youth.
We have also been supported a number of young volunteers from The Rotaract Club of York University - they're also a huge resource for having this thing go off with a bang!
How Can You Save Lives This 2015?
Give us your feedback on our video! We would love to know what you loved or hated, how to get funding for this particular project, and if anyone would like to step up and save the race.
As a little extra, we wanted to include a passionate video of our First Nation Project Manager, Nikita Patel. Here she is speaking about Pikangikum First Nations - the "Suicide Capital of the World!"