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Military veteran from Rose Hill runs to raise mental-health awareness

Published: May. 13, 2021 at 6:21 PM CDT|Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 6:47 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A military veteran is trying to raise awareness for mental health. Francesca McCarthy was in the Air Force for nearly 10 years. Now, she’s focused on raising awareness about veteran suicide. This month, she decided to run for the cause that hits home for her.

“I am doing a challenge called the 100-mile Challenge for ‘Stop Soldier Suicide,’” she said.

McCarthy saw the challenge on Facebook and new she had to take part because she knows what it’s like to lose someone to suicide.

“I personally lost a friend that I served with in the military to suicide a couple of years ago, so bringing awareness is definitely personal for me,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy’s moth-long challenge has turned into a family effort. Her husband, also a veteran, plays a big role in helping her reach her goal.

“I think my husband being there motivates me. I don’t think I could’ve kept going,” she said.

It hasn’t been easy.

“There was a day I was having awful shin splints. I could hardly walk,” McCarthy said. “(My husband) was like, ‘you can do it. You can push through this.’ And I was like, ‘okay,’ and we finished it.”

The perseverance takes her back to her days serving in the Air Force.

“Just doing it and pushing yourself to keep doing it. It’s a challenge, it gets in your head and you just run into challenges and you just have to push through them,” McCarthy said. “And that’s kind of how it is with mental health in general and with military members. They run into those issues. They run into challenges and sometimes it’s too much.”

At the end of the day, McCarthy said it’s about being there for your loved ones.

“Be that friend. Don’t just be a friend when you feel like they might be struggling, be involved in their life always and make it a daily thing to ask, ‘hey, how are you doing?’” she said.

You can learn more about McCarthy’s effort and donate to the cause here: Francesca’s fundraiser for Stop Soldier Suicide.

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