Photos from the 2021 Gunnar Iditarod Hope Ceremony that took place in Knik, Alaska (at trail marker One of the historic Iditarod Trail) on Monday, March 22, 2021.

Please support our amazing photographer and filmmaker Whitney McLaren by heading to this link and purchasing digital and physical prints from her Gunnar Iditarod Hope Gallery:

UPDATE: We also captured high-res video at the ceremony and are working on editing that all together into a nice narrative and package. Please be patient and follow us on Twitter @iditarodhope for more updates on the official ceremony video.

The official Iditarod Hope envelope that carried all of the submitted loved one’s names that have been affected by suicide. This is the envelope that mushers Gunnar Johnson and then Nicolas Petit carried throughout the 2021 Iditarod race.
Musher Nicolas Petit at the 2021 Gunnar Iditarod Hope Ceremony.
Gunnar holding the envelope during the ceremony.
Left to right: Jim Lanier (16-Time Iditarod Race finisher and head of Gunnar’s Dog Sled team), Paul Crary, Gunnar Johnson, Helen Stassen, Jay Stassen
Gunnar and Helen Stassen embracing during the ceremony.
Gunnar holding the cooker used to burn the list of names .
The ashes placed on the frozen Knik Arm.

Musher Gunnar Johnson at the 2021 Gunnar Iditarod Hope Ceremony.
Mushers Gunnar Johnson and Nicolas Petit.
Left to right: Paul Crary (Cousin/Digital Marketing for this project), Nicolas Petit, Gunnar Johnson, and Benjamin’s parents Helen Stassen (Organizer/Founder) and Jay Stassen (Organizer/Founder)
Jim Crary, Gunnar’s Uncle, hosting the ceremony and reading the dedication and words that were sent to the Gunnar Iditarod Hope project.
The ceremony group walking to spread the ashes in the Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet that will eventually melt and flow into the Gulf of Alaska, and eventually the Pacific Ocean.
Gunnar spreading the ashes.

Helen and Jay Stassen, who with Gunnar Johnson are the founders and organizers of the Gunnar Iditarod Hope project. Mother and Father of Gunnar’s cousin, Benjamin, who died by suicide at the tender age of 21.