John Byler Memorial Bike Ride
Organized by: Erin Prapas
EVENT DATE Nov 16, 2015
This October marks the fifth anniversary of Byler's death by suicide. In honor of him and what would have been his 30th birthday, Byler's family is organizing a bike ride to raise funds for his alma mater, the University of West Florida, and the Colorado Injury Control Research Center, an organization that has a long history in the research and funding of suicide prevention. ALL PROCEEDS FROM THIS FUNDRAISER WILL GO TO AWARENESS AND RESEARCH FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION.
In support of Kevin Hines' Cracked Not Broken (to be held at the UWF campus, uwf.edu/crackednotbroken), we will be doing a Century Ride bicycling tour (tentative dates: November 16-18, 2015). The 100 mile tour, composed of five 20 mile legs, will include several stops and short loop rides to promote the event and raise awareness for suicide prevention. The tour will start in Milton, FL, located about 13 miles east of the UWF campus in Pensacola, FL, head south towards the gulf beaches, looping along the beautiful Gulf Islands National Seashore, around Pensacola, and ending at UC Auditorium on the UWF campus in time to participate in the Cracked Not Broken event (6:30 pm EDT, 18 November, sponsored in part by the John Byler Memorial Fund). Participants are invited to ride all or part of the tour. More details can be found on our facebook page.
Raising Funds: We are asking for your help in raising a dollar for a mile. If you would like to donate a portion or for the total trip we are grateful for anything you have to give:
$1 = 1 mile
$5 = 5 miles
$30 = 30 miles
$60 = 60 miles
Suicide is one of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States. For every completed suicide, there are an estimated 25 suicide attempts. In 2013, there were just over 41,000 deaths by suicide reported, making the estimated number of attempts that year a distressing 1,025,000. This is a significant problem in our society. If you or someone you know needs help, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are in the University of West Florida area, resources are available here. There is help. There is hope.
John Byler was born on November 13, 1985. Byler had an infectious laugh, an insatiable quest for knowledge, a love of language, books, and films. He was quite a talker and could converse with anyone and everyone on a wide array of topics. He was completely fascninated by the world around him. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in December 2009 and began therapy and treatment. In the summer of 2010, he began learning Chinese and decided to fly to China for a field course in archaeology. The experience in China seemed to have been a significant motivator for him to go back to school and graduate from UWF. We cannot really know what happened to derail his enthusiasm for taking the next steps forward. But we know he became unhappy and refused to share his burden with anyone else, not wanting to trouble them with "his issues." He was struggling to find hope for the future and meaning in his life. In the fall of 2010, John Byler took his own life in his apartment in Pensacola. The world lost an incredible mind that day. The family and friends who knew him will forever miss his intensity for life, compassion for others, and love of knowledge.