NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Colin Lowther was in his second year of college at the University of Pittsburgh as a member of ROTC and studying engineering.
That was before January 1, 2020, the day Colin says he tried to take his own life. He struggled alone with depression for more than two years. He tells 10 On Your Side the stigma of mental illness kept him from coming forward.
Unlike an estimated 132 American’s a day who commit suicide, he survived. “After that, I became very frustrated with the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide. And I wanted to do something about it,” said Colin.
Once admitted to the hospital, he took notice of the different types of people struggling with their mental health and how many of them were there for the same reasons.
“I don’t think I necessarily fit the mold of what some people think a suicidal person is,” he explained.
“Unfortunately, we all have that picture in our head of what that person looks like and I don’t fit that. I have a great family life, I have great friends. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with my life and yet I felt like I had no other options. So I wanna make people realize that if something like this can happen to me, it can happen to anybody.”
That was a turning point for Colin. After some research of his own, he found the statistic claiming about 132 people every day in America commit suicide. It sparked his idea for “Run for the 132.”
Run for the 132 is a year-long fundraising effort to bring awareness to suicide prevention and mental illness.
The campaign began on World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, 2020, and will culminate in Colin’s 132-mile run to commemorate the estimated 132 people who will take their lives each day in the United States.
The route takes Colin from Oceanview to the Virginia Beach Boardwalk to Princess Anne Road before passing Mt. Trashmore and back home to Norfolk by way of Virginia Beach Boulevard.
“And that’s only 66 miles,” said Colin. “So then I’m turning around and doing that again.”
He estimates the run will take about forty hours. He knows the run is a stretch, but he’s hoping the shock factor of his attempt helps his message reach a larger audience.
“The hardest part is admitting to yourself that you do need help. The biggest thing I would say is that you’re just not alone, you’re not going through it by yourself.”
You don’t have to run the 132 miles to support Colin’s cause, you can also participate by:
The pledges to run will be a virtual race that you can take at your own pace and on your own route.
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If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, click here.