Gunnar Johnson of Duluth, Minnesota, will be participating in the 2021 Iditarod supporting a message of hope for all those affected by suicide. In his third Iditarod run, Gunnar will spread hope for suicide loss survivors by carrying the names of loved ones who have died by suicide as he and his team of dogs travel the race circuit in March of 2021.
This project is easy to explain but very challenging to accomplish. Survivors submit the name of a friend or loved one who has died by suicide by clicking here. Gunnar and his team will participate in one of the most difficult sporting activities in the world in March 2021 while carrying the submitted names and memories of people who have died by suicide.
Gunnar’s 860 mile journey will be a significant and personal way to remember those who have died by suicide and to help support those that are left behind.
Many of us turn silent when we encounter the topic of suicide, and Gunnar’s Iditarod run will be filled with silent stretches of frozen ice-covered trails, but he will be encouraged and fueled by your written words remembering those we have lost. When Gunnar and his team reached the finish line, printed pages of all of the names of loved ones lost to suicide will be presented and then ceremonially burned with the ashes spread on the frozen water where they will flow into the vast Artic Seas with the Spring melt.
Gunnar is committed to accomplish this challenging journey and being a courier of hope because he understands the turmoil and trauma of a suicide death, that we cannot ignore the pain this tragic event inflicts and that these deaths are preventable with timely intervention and professional help. This difficult task of running the Iditarod a third time while carrying names of those who died by suicide will encourage awareness, conversation and support to those who follow Gunnar on his journey. Let’s not be silent anymore.