I will be "running" a half-marathon, donned in a 11 foot tall bear puppet-suit (created by Hartford artist Anne Cubberly for the Bear's Smokehouse BBQ restaurant group). An absurd and seemingly unbearable feat, but after years having the privilege of performing in said Bear, I felt compelled to use my giant-puppetry prowess for good. And while the premise is silly, I'm attempting this colossal feat to bring attention to a deadly serious issue: the escalating opioid crisis, one that has been recently gaining more national attention, but that has been decimating the residents of Hartford for decades.
I will be raising funds for the Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition, whose mission statement reads: "The Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition (GHHRC) is dedicated to promoting the dignity and wellbeing of individuals and communities impacted by drug use. GHHRC holds that every individual deserves a participatory voice in the public dialogue regarding drug use policies, programs and practices. Through advocacy, training and service, GHHRC aims to ensure the availability, adequacy, accessibility and acceptability of services and resources that remediate the adverse consequences of drug use."
The GHHRC provides life-saving resources with overdose medications such as Narcan, but they also treat the most vulnerable members of their community with the dignity and compassion they deserve. Addiction has effected those nearest and dearest to me, as it has most of us. Many of my friends have died, and many are still struggling one day and one step at a time. Anything I could help contribute to an organization such as GHHRC would be literally life-saving. Dealing with opioid addiction and the dark avenues it makes people walk down is difficult. Jogging and power-walking a half-marathon in a giant bear-puppet is easy in comparison.
If they can bear it, so can I.