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Second Walk/Run to Wake the Silence raises $8,500 for JD Foundation

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — More than 200 people walked or ran a little more than three miles through the streets of Dover-Foxcroft on the morning of May 20 in the Abbot-based JD Foundation’s second annual Walk/Run to Wake the Silence.

Those participating in the five kilometer walk and ceremonies raised an estimated $8,500 for the nonprofit organization dedicated to curbing suicide and bullying through education and support.

“Welcome to the second annual Walk/Run to Wake the Silence,” Emcee Anthony Campbell said during the opening ceremonies in front of the Piscataquis Regional YMCA. Campbell — a long-time JD Foundation volunteer who raised $3,700 for the organization in December 2015 by running 55 miles from Brewer to Abbot on his 55th birthday — then thanked the event’s numerous volunteers and sponsors.

“Behind me is a memory tree we place names on,” Campbell said, as 5K participants could write the names of lost loved ones on a leaf to be attached to the painting. “Once it’s completed today, it’s going to be hung at the JD Foundation main headquarters in Abbot so we can remember.”

“It’s time to walk the silence. Today we walk or run to raise awareness for suicide,” JD Foundation Co-Founder, CEO and Acting President Cheryl Morin said. “The JD Foundation started after the loss of our son who died by suicide Nov. 18, 2005.”

“This was something I never dreamed would ever happen to our family,” Morin said, with the JD in the organization name coming from her son’s name — William Jody Day. She explained the pain is still there 12-plus years later but some days are better than others.

Morin said she has learned about the warning signs and methods of helping those who are struggling. “I am asking everyone here, if you have not had education in suicide training, please let us know. Learn to talk to someone and where to go for help.”

“If I had known this, my son would have had a better chance for survival,” she said.

Before the participants departed, Morin recognized one of the younger volunteers, 12-year-old Kholton Perry of Charleston. “This guy came to us last year for our first walk and raised over $400,” Morin said.

“This year Kholton made a point of going out day after day after day,” she said, stopping by homes and spending time outside of Shaw’s in Dover-Foxcroft and Bangor to gather pledges and donations. For all his fundraising effort, Perry collected $3,900 for the JD Foundation.

“We learned along the way Kholton wanted a specific bat with his name engraved on it,” Morin said. She and her husband and JD Foundation Co-Founder and Vice President Victor Morin then gave Perry a custom baseball bat from Dove Tail Bats in Shirley.

The Morins also recognized Perry’s father, Tim. “Kholton could not have gone anywhere where he did without his dad,” Cheryl Morin said.

Upon returning from their 3.1-mile excursion, participants moved to the nearby Kiwanis Park pond.

“This is the closing ceremony, most people felt last year this was really healing,” Morin said, as flowers could be dropped into the pond stream while Campbell read the names of their loved ones aloud.

“While you are doing that maybe we can let go of some of our pain,” Morin said.

“Thank you everyone and we hope to see you next year and we hope there is no increase in the numbers,” Campbell said.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
WALKING TO WAKE THE SILENCE — More than 200 participants walked and ran through downtown Dover-Foxcroft in the JD Foundation’s second annual Walk/Run to Wake the Silence on the morning of May 20. Organizers said an estimated $8,500 was raised for the Abbot-based JD Foundation, which strives to prevent suicides and bullying through education and support.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
HITTING A HOMERUN WITH HIS FUNDRAISING — JD Foundation Co-Founder, CEO and Acting President Cheryl Morin tells the audience about how Kholton Perry, 12, of Charleston, worked to raise $3,900 for the organization’s second annual Walk/Run to Wake the Silence. Morin and her husband and JD Foundation Co-Founder and Vice President Victor Morin, center, thanked Perry by giving him an engraved baseball bat from Dove Tail Bats in Shirley.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
REMEMBERING THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN LOST — Family and friends of JD Foundation namesake William Jody Day drop flowers into the Kiwanis Park pond stream during the closing ceremony of the second Walk/Run to Wake the Silence on May 20 in Dover-Foxcroft.

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