It was just another day for Kristin Burke; except on this particular day, she happened to be stuck in traffic on top of Colorado mountains. The only radio station that came through her speakers was a story highlighting the number of veterans who commit suicide a day; 20-22.
This hit home for Kristin as both her father and grandfather are Army veterans, and her fiancé is a Marine who served two tours in Afghanistan. From that moment on, she made it her mission to do what she could to help end veteran suicide. She is an avid runner, and if her passion for running could coincide with her mission to raise awareness of 22 veterans taking their life daily, she was going to combine the two as best she could. That is how 12in12for22 (12 marathons in 12 months for the 22 veteran suicides a day), was created.
Kristin went online to search for an organization that she could partner with. That is how she came upon Active Heroes and knew right away they would be the one.
“I looked into several different organizations before settling on Active Heroes. For one thing, they post their financials right on the site, which I find to be transparent and comforting. I knew the money I raised would be put to good use,” said Kristin. “I also love the retreat that they are building. I think it will be an amazing alternative to more traditional therapies. I reached out to Troy Yocum, the president of Active Heroes to pitch my idea, and he was on board right away!”
From sea to shining sea (literally), Kristin Burke started her journey in May of 2016. Her first marathon was in Vail, Colorado. From there she did a few more in Colorado, made her way to Washington D.C., then out to Catalina Island, California, and just finished her last marathon on April 15, 2017 in Westminster, Colorado.
Over 314 miles later Kristin has raised a total of $13,251, all of which was donated directly to Active Heroes. Even though her mission of 12in12for22 is over, she says she is not done helping raise awareness of such a devastating number of which our heroes turn to suicide. “The mission didn’t end with my 12th race, it’ll end when 22 veteran suicides per day decreases to 0,” said Kristin.
When asked to give some advice to others who may want to also make an impact, Kristin stated. “Do it! When I first started all this, I thought that I’m just one person, what change can I really make? Honestly, I don’t know if I have made an impact, but I sure gave it my best shot. I found something I was passionate about, something I thought needed to change, and I did a small part to pitch in. The world needs more people doing that. If you feel compelled to incite change by running 12 marathons in 12 months, talk to me, I’ll help!”
If you would like to become an Ambassador Athlete, like Kristin you could also help make an impact from virtually anywhere! Please visit www.activeheroes.org/virtual-athletes/. You can find more information on the Active Heroes’ Retreat Center that was mentioned, here.
If you’d like to read more about Kristin’s story visit www.marathonrestrepeat.com or follow her on Instagram @12in12for22.