Kick Cabin Fever Triathlon Supports Suicide Awareness

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Article Contributed by
Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene

We all know how tough winters can be in Western New York. When the cold wind blows the last thing anyone wants to think about is getting up and moving rather than curling up under a warm blanket and sipping hot chocolate. Being active in the winter months is one of the reasons the Kick Cabin Fever (KCF) Indoor Triathlon was started eight years ago and is held the last Saturday of February each year at the Turner Community Center at Chautauqua Institution.
Cheryl Burns, known to friends and family as Brnz, began the indoor triathlon one year after her brother Marty Miller died by suicide due to several years of depression. The intent of this event is to get people moving during one of the toughest winter months in Chautauqua County. The exciting part of the KCF event is the number of first time Triathlon participants. “We get all sorts of people from really competitive to novice, very young to over 70 years, and those with challenges proving the human spirit can overcome a great deal. We keep the cost a very reasonable $35.00 per individual, $70.00 per team which can be made of 2 or 3. With that cost includes a long sleeve T-shirt with other goodies and great prizes are awarded to overall winners,” said Brnz. Erik Travis, Brnz’s nephew, manages the website and the computer program for obtaining order of finishers at the event. Marlena Franco, a dedicated volunteer, runs Erik’s program the day of the event. There are approximately 25 awesome volunteers, including friends and family, that make sure the day is fun and runs smoothly for competitors.
“Anyone can do this event. When someone hears Triathlon they immediately think impossible because they cannot swim well or feel they are not in good enough shape to bike or run. We are very lenient at this event for those people and we encourage them to simply float from one end to the other when swimming, spin on a stationary bike the best they can, and walk the treadmill while listening to the goofy people around for support and the upbeat music. The three events; swim, bike, and run only last a total of 45 minutes, but will typically hook anyone to a future in multisport,” continued Brnz.
All proceeds for the Kick Cabin Fever Indoor Triathlon stays in Chautauqua County for suicide prevention efforts. This year a $600 donation was made to The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention. The Alliance was formed four years ago when local professionals from the mental health and other health care fields saw a great need in the community for support and education around suicide prevention. These community members and others answered the call for action and started The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention. Over the past several years The Alliance and its partner agencies have worked together to train over 1000 local community members from all walks of life in suicide prevention and awareness. Recently, co-coordinators of The Alliance, Jon Anderson and Victoria Patti established a non-endowed fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to serve as a depository for local donations that will support local programs for individuals and families in need.
The Alliance meets on the second Friday of every month to discuss community issues as well as plan upcoming educational events. The meetings are open to the public at Jamestown Community College in the Carnahan Building at 9:30 am. To learn more about the events they host and for more information, visit their Facebook page by searching for “The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention.”
As we would say in the triathlon world….”keep swimming” or “keep Tri-ing”….there is always a healthy way out of a bad situation. KEEP MOVING! If you would like to support a great cause with wonderful volunteers, many great people to share the day, and the best reason to get out and have some fun in February. Find out more at www.Kickcabinfever.com.