Here’s the link to REGISTER for our Virtual Race: New Year, New Hope benefiting Project Semicolon ; in memory of Dylan. Their story and more information on the “race” is below. Thank you all for participating!
#NewYearNewHopeRace #NewYearNewHope #iTri4Dylan
#TriFecta #SwimBikeMom #SwimBikeGive
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Last August, one of our Tri-Fecta members, Cara, posted the most heart-wrenching comment (possibly ever) in our group. I cannot remember exactly what it said, but I remember the feeling I had once I read it, and of course, what had happened.
Cara was a “Swim Bike Mom” training for Augusta 70.3. Her words in that post still, to this day give me chills, and make me grab my children and hug them tightly.
In Cara’s Own Words:
On August 20, 2014 my world changed forever. It was my oldest son’s 18th birthday and we were taking him to his first year at college. I was excited, but sad at the thought of “losing” him to the world. Then at 3:00, I received a call that no mother ever wants to receive.
My second son, Dylan, was found dead at our home by my mother-in-law and 3 other children.
I did in fact lose a child that day, but not the way I thought.
I don’t remember much of that day after that, other than reading the note that he left, “I just can’t make it in this world.”
Unlike other cases of suicide, there were no typical signs that Dylan was struggling.
He had always been a very independent kid, and kept to himself. Feelings were never easy for him. His closest friends had no idea, other than his last tweet: “bye guys”.
As a mom I felt like I had failed him. How could a mom not know he was struggling so much? The truth is, he didn’t want me to know – and he was very good at hiding.
Dylan was born on July 7, 1998 with a head full of frosted brown hair that had nurses from other floors coming down to take a look. He was the only one of my five kids that slept better alone in his crib, rather than in my arms – and that independence was evident throughout his life.
As an early teen, he struggled with anxiety – being around people was very hard for him (he had even had panic attacks). He was a “gamer” and found his way to online gaming and a group of friends. I made sure I “met” them in their Skype sessions. I knew all their names and personalities. This was where he felt comfortable. This was where he drew his “power”.
Our family has since identified the power symbol that is common on electronics as a representation of Dylan. [*which is on the medal for the race!]
Depression and suicidal thoughts are not always “visible.”
Sometimes those struggling with depression are very smart at hiding their problems, and do not know where to turn for help. According to the CDC, in 2013 (the most recent year for full statistics), 41,149 suicides were reported making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. “In that year, someone in the country died by suicide every 12.8 minutes.” But for every suicide that was completed that year, there were 12 people that harmed themselves. That means that in 2013, about 650,000 Americans were so hopeless, they thought death was the only option (Source: www.afsp.org).
But there is hope. And that message needs to be heard.
“Project Semicolon is a global non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and love for those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction and self-injury. Project Semicolon exists to encourage, love and inspire.” (www.projectsemicolon.org)
The semicolon “;” is used by writers where they thought of stopping a sentence, but made the choice to continue on. This symbol is being used by people all over the world to show that at one point, they thought they were at the end, but made the choice to keep going.
This is a message of hope to all those that are struggling in silence, and maybe, they will gain the courage they need to reach out.
We do have the POWER to share this hope. Please join me in being that message to the world!
This is a New Year. This is New Hope.
A few weeks after Dylan’s death, Cara inspired us all by continuing to train for Ironman 70.3 Augusta, with her goal to complete it in Dylan’s memory and honor.
Post after post in Tri-Fecta exhibited Cara’s strength, and the support of our “Army”:
“It wasn’t easy. Sometimes I couldn’t tell if it was sweat or tears running down my face. It felt good to breathe hard going up the hills… Its been hard to breathe most times. Funny thing… Facebook is asking me to tag someone in the upper part of the picture where there is a bright spot by the tree. He must’ve been watching. And Facebook knows everything. #itri4dylan”
She even raced in smaller races leading up to Augusta, doing the unthinkable amazing feat, despite her pain.
“Friends… Getting out of bed this morning took everything I had. I definitely had a different perspective than any race before. I still feel like my body weighs 1000 pounds and I haven’t eaten much in the last week … Forget about race day nutrition. But I did it. My body was ready even if my mind was not. #itry4dylan.”
And then she headed to Ironman 70.3 Augusta, posting this:
“Thank you everyone for your support. I wouldn’t be here without it. My definition of success has changed, along with everything else in life. Previously I would‘ve been hung up on how well I did compared to my peers. Now, just being here and being part of the experience of an Ironman 70.3 has been surreal, and I am grateful. I have an odd sense of calm today as we are driving to the event. Does finishing matter? Yes. I want to finish. Will I be upset if I don’t? Not really, because it is definitely not the worst thing that could happen in life. I am here today FOR Dylan, not in spite of the events. Every mile is in memory of those Dylan traveled and for those he will not. #itri4dylan”
And she did it.
I, along with many, many others in our Army was there to see her finish what she started—her first half Ironman–in Dylan’s memory.
We were all inspired.
Cara shared in our group in these posts:
“I don’t care how old you are, getting to stand on a podium feels awesome. So lucky and proud to race with so many beautiful women in the pouring rain today. I think there were 2 women in their 70s and 1 that was 81! I hope I am still able when I’m that age! Got beat for first place overall by a 13 year old! (1st in age group). I’m not saying all this to brag (well maybe a little) but more to let everyone know that it is possible to get up from some really bad things and move forward. You just have to. And having some really special, supportive people to run up to and celebrate with makes all the difference. #itri4dylan”
“This is the result of 2015. My goal was to complete the 2015 FIT family series (6 sprint triathlons over 3 months ), and I actually won. Not because I’m speedy, but because I “just kept moving forward”… Threw in the Columbus Half, and Hot Chocolate 15k too. Next year, I’m tackling another half ironman right here in Ohio! Here’s hoping my body cooperates (yes I did buy the insurance! ).
I don’t do this to “show off.” I do it to let everyone know that you can overcome anything as long as you keep reaching for goals. It’s not been easy, but triathlon is what has kept me sane.”
How We Can Change the World
And now, the grief is by no means gone or lighter, but Cara continues to shine as an inspiration to all of us. She was a fantastic ambassador for our sport and Swim Bike Mom in 2015, and will always be one of the brightest lights I know. This sport is truly a wonderful sport. The people? Well, they are even more amazing.
We love you, Cara and Dylan.
It is our honor and privilege to hold our second Virtual Race in your honor, in Dylan’s Memory and benefiting Project Semicolon.
PROJECT SEMICOLON IS A GLOBAL NON-PROFIT MOVEMENT DEDICATED TO PRESENTING HOPE AND LOVE FOR THOSE WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH MENTAL ILLNESS, SUICIDE, ADDICTION AND SELF-INJURY. PROJECT SEMICOLON EXISTS TO ENCOURAGE, LOVE AND INSPIRE.
What: New Year; New Hope Virtual Race – Any k!
When: Friday, January 16th-18th (MLK Weekend)
Where: Wherever you are!
How Far: You choose your distance! 1 mile, 5k, 10k, Any k
Why: For Cara and Dylan and benefiting Project Semicolon
We will donate a portion of each registration fee to Suicide Prevention–specifically the organization, Project Semicolon. The amount will depend on how many participants register for the race, after medals and t-shirts and shipping are handled. We will take care of all processing fees. We will announce the final amount in the donation and results post after the race. See here for our December Virtual Race, where we raised $4133 for ALS.
Guaranteed Registration Deadline: January 8th (for t-shirt and medal); registration allowed until January 16th.
Race Swag: If you register by January 8th, you’re guaranteed to receive a race t-shirt in your size (chosen at Check-Out). Registration will stay open until Friday, January 16th, but t-shirts and medals are not guaranteed if registration is after the 8th of January.
Donations will still be sent on all race registrations (even after the deadline).
Entry Fee: $35 ($30 plus $5 shipping)
If you’d like to donate an additional amount to Project Semicolon, please do so here – donations will be added to your cart at checkout. All additional donations go directly to the charity.
Get Your Medal:
After the “race,” we will post on this blog (or in the event on Facebook) where to email your results. You will have a chance to write or share what this race means to you and send in race pictures. You will received our one of a kind New Year; New Hope race medal and t-shirt, and your picture may featured on SwimBikeMom.com or other SBM social media.
Hashtag your “race photos” on social media with the tags:
#NewYearNewHopeRace #NewYearNewHope #iTri4Dylan #TriFecta #SwimBikeMom #SwimBikeGive
*This is VERY important so we can share and find your love!
Race Sponsors: Coming Soon! (If you have a business who wants to sponsor, please direct them here. We will feature them on the blog and the back of the t-shirt). The more sponsors we can get to offset the costs, the larger the proceeds we will donate.
#NewYearNewHopeRace #NewYearNewHope #iTri4Dylan
#TriFecta #SwimBikeMom #SwimBikeGive