Runners support Mollie Tibbetts Fund for personal cause: Mental-health awareness

Local News

During the week of the murder trial in May, five runners ran 62 miles for the Wave Across Iowa.

The race started at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City and ended at the Public House in Davenport.

The run raised more than $18,000 for the Mollie Tibbetts Fund to benefit the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital for mental health awareness.

On Wednesday a check was presented by the runners to Mollie Tibbetts’ mother and the children’s hospital.

It was a run with the end goal to save lives. Five runners set out on a 62-mile run from Iowa City to Davenport and raised more than $18,000 for the Mollie Tibbetts Fund to bring awareness to mental health issues.

Austin Chesney, the owner of the Public House, has been dealing mental health issues his whole life, and he doesn’t want anyone else to go through what he did.

“A lot of people have issues with the stigma of mental health and trying to hide their struggles and I think that’s the power of depression,” Chesney said. “It makes people afraid to talk about it and feel ashamed and that’s not a reason to be afraid or be ashamed because you’re never alone in this journey of depression and anxiety. You can’t cure depression, but you can definitely outsmart it.” 

Chesney says it was an emotional day for him being able to present such a large sum of money to the hospital.

For another runner, raising awareness and money for mental health is something that is near and dear to him. He has had to watch his daughter battle day in and day out with anxiety.

“It affects her, so I can see it with a lot of kids and especially with little kids. They go through so much,” Kurt Johnston said. “So much is changing in their life: Their hormones and growing, and other kids. And to be able to give back and give them programs that help them out that can help save a life, that’s what’s really important to me.”   

Johnston says after seeing his daughter deal with anxiety, he knows it’s something you need to tackle at a young age.

“Think about that fork in life,” he said. “If you don’t it can go this way, if you help them out and recover and learn how to deal with it and show people, really, that you support them.”

All of the runners from the Wave Across Iowa say they plan to do another long run in Brooklyn, Iowa, in September to raise more money for the Mollie Tibbetts Fund.

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