Two Downtown Rotarians Running Across SD for Suicide Prevention

Downtown Rotarians Micah Aberson and John Meyer are two of the 12 runners making their way across South Dakota for suicide prevention as part of The 437 Project. According to the project's website, "on Thursday, September 21st, runners will depart from the west side of the state to begin the 437 mile relay-style journey. Tackling the ever-changing South Dakota weather and terrain, runners will connect with communities as they raise funds and awareness for this initiative, finishing in Sioux Falls on Sunday, September 24th."

Aberson shared of how he got involved after being personally impacted by the mission.

"I became involved in The 437 Project through the invitation of friends who participated last year. The invitation began mostly because my friends knew that I was a (novice & occasional) runner," said Aberson, who has been a Downtown Rotarian since March 2023. "Having had a close personal family friend attempt suicide, I’ve seen first-hand the toll that mental health issues can place on families and jumped at the chance to participate. The 437 Project gave me an opportunity to bring awareness to the importance of mental health and its connectivity to physical health. I’m humbled to participate in this great effort."

Meyer is looking forward to connecting with people across the state and hearing their stories.

"The 437 Project helps start a conversation that we all need to have, the conversation around mental health," said Meyer, who has been a Downtown Rotarian since August 2022. "This event thrusts that conversation into the light and shows how both physical and mental health matter. I know as we run across South Dakota we are going to hear so many stories from people in our state, and I know how powerful they will be. I'm honored to be a part of this event."

Funds raised from the run will go to The Helpline Center, the only accredited suicide crisis center in the state of South Dakota. Specifically, investments in the project will support the Text4HOPE Crisis Hotline, a crisis texting program that provides critical outreach and resources, and which is available 24/7 to all South Dakota high school students.

Learn more about The 437 Project here and show your support for Aberson and Meyer on Sunday, September 21 at 1:00 pm at Levitt Sioux Falls as they complete their run.