5 Highlights From ‘You Matter’ Suicide Awareness Event

Justin Mickels, owner of Evolution Fitness; Stephen Leard, Evolution Fitness athlete; and Mrs. Montana, Sara Dukart, co-hosted You Matter on Friday, February 5. The educational social, emceed by Bethany Abeln, featured several speakers who covered the topics of physical and mental health, as well as suicide.

“We wanted to bring her cause [Suicide Prevention] and fitness together,” Justin said. “We really wanted to break down the stigma that surrounds mental health and show how important your physical health is.”

Sara expressed her emotional tie to the cause. “I’m a survivor of a suicide attempt, and I thought it was really important to use my story to empower others with the message of hope,” she said. “[I have] a very deep and understanding of this issue.”  

Stephen brought the fundraising opportunity to Sara and Justin’s attention earlier in the fall and soon thereafter the planning began. “But it was in the last month that things really started to come together for us,” Stephen said, the night of the event.

The crew raised a grand total of $3000 for the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, which was “more than we expected,” Stephen said. You Matter included speakers, door prizes, and several information booths. If you weren’t able to attend, here’s what you missed:

1.The Opportunity To Do Good

There are very few opportunities when people can come together, discuss a problem, and share mutual stories of struggle in hope of breaking the silence surrounding an issue. You Matter gave people affected by suicide a safe and welcoming spot to do exactly that.

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2. Awesome Door Prizes

Door prizes included EVOFIT gear, MTS Nutrition supplements, ULTA gift packs, and one-on-one person training sessions with Justin Mickels.


3. Beth Doyle-Lautt’s Heart-Wrenching Speech

Doyle-Lautt spoke about her son’s military career and PTSD. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house once she finished speaking. See a preview below.

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4. Qdoba

Qdoba catered the event, so the 50 attendees at the Hjemkomst Center  were able to kick off the educational social with nutritious snacks provided by the Evolution Fitness crew.

Arthur Zavala & Justin Mickels
Arthur Zavala & Justin Mickels

5. A Chance to Chat With Mrs. Montana

The former Mrs. Fargo may now be representing Montana, but that doesn’t make her cause any less important. She plans on continuing her efforts to empower and provide hope for all who have been impacted by suicide.

Sara D

Interview With Co-sponsor Stephen Leard

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“This was the first year the event was put on, but it won’t be the last,” said Stephen Leard.

To donate or get involved please visit AFSP.org.

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