This is my 6th year participating in the Pikes Peak Challenge. My family does this event every year as a way to remember my older brother and try to make a positive impact after his death by suicide in November of 2009.
Honestly the first few years I participated in the event, part of me dreaded it. I loved the idea of taking the most difficult moment in my life and trying to use it to help others, but talking about Jesse is hard. I prefer to be positive, upbeat and joke around….. talking about death and suicide is gut wrenching and painful. Despite the challenge it helps to talk and each year I get a little more comfortable sharing.
When Jesse died it completely changed my life. Some of the happiest memories from growing up can randomly make me cry. In most my memories of Jesse I’m laughing, smiling and confident. Jesse could always make me feel incredibly confident and he always had a way of making everyone smile and laugh.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 13 years since Jesse died. Every life milestone I hit it’s impossible to not have that tug in my stomach thinking I wish Jesse was here. I wish he was around to celebrate my graduations from Regis, been a best man at my wedding with Matt and Bob, helped me train for my half Ironman, and most recently I wish he was here to meet my son Callen. It’s difficult that Callen will never truly know my incredible brother. Lately though Callen has started laughing in his sleep and I like to think that he is getting to know his Uncle Jess.
Jesse died by suicide and I will never truly understand what led him to that choice. Did the multiple head injuries he sustained during his baseball career contribute to his decision? It’s highly likely.
I choose to honor my brothers memory by trying to be a good person. Someone that he would be proud of. I try to be kind and let people know that they are amazing just the way they are. I choose to spend my energy trying to make people smile and feel special. I try to make a positive impact in my daily life. I choose to support organizations like the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado because of all the amazing work that they do to help survivors of brain injury.
You can support me during this event anyway you choose whether it is well wishes, joining team Jesse, reading more about the Brain Injury Alliance or making a donation through my campaign page. Make sure to send some positive vibes towards Pikes Peak as Team Jesse hikes to the summit on September 10, 2022
Thank you for taking the time to read my story! It truly means a lot