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Running to Prevent Suicide

Long-distance runner Carol Seppilu has set an audacious goal for 2020: to run the full length of all three roads in Nome, an approximate distance of 229 miles.

Seppilu and Sherri Anderson, the continuing care coordinator for Norton Sound Health Corporation’s behavioral health services, visited the studio. They discussed resources and help available to those who struggle with mental health. Their Native Connections program is a way for people to recover from depression and anxiety by returning to their Native culture.

Nome ultra-runner Carol Seppilu and Sherri Anderson from Norton Sound Health Corporation in the studio. They discussed running, suicide prevention, and ways the behavioral health program connects people to their cultural roots.

Seppilu discovered the benefits of physical activity in her recovery from depression. She shared with listeners that 21 years ago, she barely survived an attempted suicide. After a spiritual experience in the ICU, she said she realized there was still more she needed to do.

Seppilu’s first hometown long-distance run this year was from Teller to Nome: a distance of 71.52 miles.

Seppilu said, “at the beginning of May, I was out running, and I completely broke down. I couldn’t stop crying… My heart was very heavy because we had lost some people to suicide very recently, at that time, and I just felt the overwhelming grief. I immediately got ahold of Tim and I said we should seriously consider doing a big run to give a message of hope out there because I felt like people needed something like that. He was up for it.”

She and her running partner, Dr. Tim Lemaire, had several wildlife encounters on the trail. Just a few miles outside of Nome, they met a bear sow with three cubs chasing a musk ox. Fortunately Lemaire’s wife had gone ahead of them in a car, and could alert the two runners to stop and be cautious.

Seppilu dedicated the run to prayer for an end to suicide in Western Alaska, as well as an end to COVID-19. “I prayed my most powerful prayers out there, and asked the Lord to bless the land and people with love, healing, and hope,” she wrote after finishing the run.

Image at top: Seppilu completed a 100-mile run in Resurrection Pass this summer. After the run, she wrote, “Every couple of minutes I shouted out in my language, ‘Kiyaghnaghem aflengakaqinkut qamaggluta’ which translates to, the Lord is taking care of us all.” Photo by Max Romey, used with permission.

2 Comments

  1. David on September 7, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    Carol & Sherri-

    I received the September 2020 The Nome Static and was completely floored by your photographs,.

    Although we live many miles away (I live in New Jersey) we are still connected through God’s presence.

    My wife (whom I started dating in 1977) is going in for major surgery tomorrow.

    Your photographs have brought me a sense of Peace and Understanding of God’s Love during these difficult times.

    The Light, the Road and the Shadows have consoled me in a very special way that only the Spirit can provide.

    God has given you a great Gift!

    Please pray for Connie and don’t give up!

    In Christ’s Love,
    David

    • KJ McElwee on September 8, 2020 at 12:06 pm

      Dear David,

      Thank you so much for sharing how much this spoke to you. You and Connie will be in our prayers!

      – KJ
      KNOM Radio

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