When I heard Boogaard had died, I made a promise to Bryan Reynolds at Hockey Wilderness and Defending the Blue Line: I would run a marathon and try to raise $500 to continue Boogaard's work with DTBL.
The people at DTBL do amazing work to support military families who want to participate in hockey. I support them because I come from a family with a long history of military service; like Boogaard, I once had hopes of joining the armed forces. Supporting DTBL is a way to meaningfully show appreciation not just to the military, but to their families who sacrifice much as well.
I want to also help open a dialogue for us as a community to discuss and understand all types of mental illness. As many of you know, I've been struggling with mental health issues for most of my life. It's never easy, and social stigma makes it worse at times. That's why, when Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak all died and people started making comments displaying the depth of ignorance of mental health issues, I knew I had to do something meaningful.
It's important to me that Boogaard, Rypien and Belak are remembered not only as players, but as people who (like the rest of us) struggled with personal demons, and were tremendously giving and caring individuals. The work they've done for our hockey community should never be forgotten.
Because of my PTSD and severe anxiety, I have trouble leaving my home - even for work. But these causes are important to me --so important that I'm resuming my fundraising contest with Five For Howling, anxiety be damned. To start with, I'll be running a 10K on June 2, and he'll be running a 5k (TBD).
When we started, we raised $160. I hope we not only reach $500, but exceed it.
Update: due to medication issues, I was unable to run on June 2, but will be doing a 5k walk as the first step towards running a marathon for Defending the Blue Line. Our donation total stands at $809!
By walking this 5K (and eventuall running a marathon) in Boogaard's memory for Defending the Bue Line, I want to promote the amazing work that DTBL does to include military families in our hockey comunity. It benefits us all.
You can donate here.