GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – More than 300 runners of all ages and abilities participated in the inaugural Robbie’s Hope 5K run at Tanglewood Park Sunday morning. The run honors Robbie Eckert.
“Every time we do one of these events, it’s just a reminder of him not being here, but hopefully we are making a difference one bit at a time,” said Jason Eckert.
Jason and his wife, Kari, lost their son, Robbie, to suicide in October and have since founded Robbie’s Hope. The nonprofit hopes to raise awareness to reduce teen suicide by 50 percent over the next 10 years.
“A mother came up to me and she said that because of what she heard about Robbie’s Hope, she had a conversation with her own child and that makes it all worth it,” said Kari.
The goal is not just raise awareness, but create Hope Groups.
“Small groups of peers where they talk about their issues, have some fun, away from stress,” Jason explained.
“So they feel empowered to be able to change this issue,” Kari added.
Right now, they have four active groups, with plans for more.
“We hope to have another hundred by the end of the year and 10,000 in 10 years,” said Jason.
Mental health issues can be difficult to spot and navigate.
“You could never tell that he was going through so much pain,” said Olivia Miller. The Lakewood High School sophomore has fond memories of her friend and classmate.
“He was always there for you no matter what. If you had a hard day, he would make you laugh, always put a smile on your face,” said Clifton Thompson. He was also Robbie’s friend and classmate.
“Robbie was a really uplifting kid, he always had a smile on his face and brought a smile to everyone else’s face in the room, and he was a really great friend and a great person,” he said.
“It’s one step at a time, the more awareness we can have the better,” said Jason.
PHOTO GALLERY: Robbie’s Hope 5K Run
Kari hopes with that added awareness will come a clear message of hope, “To our teens: It’s okay to not be okay. Hold on, pain ends,” she said.
Sunday’s event raised more than $15,000.
SUICIDE HOTLINE: 1.844.493.8255 or text TALK to 38255