Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
Dirk Whitebreast - Sac&Fox
DES MOINES - For the past thirty days, Dirk Whitebreast, Sac and Fox, was on a mission and he accomplished it. His mission was no small undertaking and really remarkable. Earlier this year, he made the goal to run in 10 marathons in 30 days to bring attention to the high rate of suicides among American Indian youth.
Tragically, the rate of suicide among American Indian and Alaska Native youth is two to three times higher than the national average. Terribly, in some cases, these suicides are clusters by time and place, which translates into a rate that is 10 times the national average.
Most tragic for Dirk Whitebreast, eight years ago his sister, Darcy Jo Keahna, committed suicide.
His mission to run 10 marathons in 30 days was tied the tragic death of his sister. He finished his the last marathon on Sunday afternoon in Des Moines, Iowa.
10 Medals in 30 Days
After the IMT Des Moines Marathon, Whitebreast posted this message on his Facebook wall:
"Darcy I know this isn't much but this was the only way I know how to show everyone how much you meant to us. Thank you, Sister. We love you."
"I did it. I knew what was in front of me and I did it. I believed I could and I did it," said a tired Whitebreast Sunday night to the Native News Network on Sunday night.
"My work is not Done"
"As far as Darcy's death, I know some are still having trouble dealing with her loss. I think, in some ways, these marathons will provide some closure for me. It's interesting, I never really felt alone on these runs. I felt close to Darcy. My work is not done, but I feel these marathons have been good for me to deal my loss."
“I'm going to do what the Creator puts in front of me,”
stated Whitebreast with conviction. "As the last marathons were creeping up, I began to wonder: 'How do I top ten marathons? How do I top 262 miles?' Then I realized, there still is a job to be done. I want to share my story with others."
He will do so later this fall. He will be in Portland, Oregon to speak before the Native American Youth Council and will be on a panel in Washington DC sponsored by the Center for Native American Youth - Aspen Institute.
In addition to bringing awareness about suicide among Native youth, Whitebreast ran to raise funds to combat suicides among American Indians. Funds raised during the ten marathon challenge will go to fund programs of the Center for Native American Youth, based in Washington.
posted October 17, 2011 6:00 am edt
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