Mental health and the topic of suicide are two things that are rapidly becoming less stigmatized in our society. However, work still needs to be done. Mental health afflicts many of us, and many of us probably know of a family member or friend who was a victim of suicide.

The most important thing one can do is assure that no one suffers in silence or is without support. There is a wonderful new 5K fundraiser that is looking to kickoff on Sunday, June 30th at Heritage Trail at Gardners on John Deere Road in Dubuque. The organization is known as "BKTN," which stands for "Be Kinder Than Necessary."

BKTN's founder, Heather Osthoff, lost her daughter, Brielle, and created the organization in her honor. Brielle had a sign on her bedroom wall that read "be kinder than necessary," which has become the Osthoff family motto since. Heather chose to name the organization that phrase as a reminder to people not only to be kinder than necessary to others, but be kinder than necessary to themselves.

On Sunday, June 30th, folks who show up to Heritage Trail can participate in "A Walk to Remember." The begins at 10am, with walks-up being accepted from 9am-10am. Food trucks will also be on site. The event is billed as "a walk to honor those who have lost their battle to mental health and support those who are still fighting," per the walk's flyer:

Our mission is threefold: to advocate, provide vital resources, and end the stigma surrounding all individuals in our community affected by mental health and sexual assault. Through our efforts, we aim to foster a culture of Awareness, Worth, Acceptance, Kindness, and Empathy. By “Being Kinder Than Necessary” we can create a world where individuals feel empowered to seek help without fear of judgment or shame. - BKTN's mission statement, per their website

Photo Credit: BKTN, Facebook
Photo Credit: BKTN, Facebook
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Heather and her son, Brock, were kind enough to stop in the studio days before the walk is set to take place not only to talk about the event, but also, Brielle. Brock mentioned how Brielle's light still shines brightly in both his heart and his life:

We were pretty close in age. She was a year younger than me. Obviously, we grew up together very closely, and just all the trips we went on it [and] a lot of very key moments we went through together [....] She was such a beacon of light, and it just shows that have might have the strongest light might be fighting the hardest battles. - Brock Osthoff, per our interview (embedded below)

You can learn more about BKTN via their website and Facebook page. You can also find out more about the BKTN 5K Fundraiser happening on Sunday, June 30th on the event's Facebook page! Take a listen to my interview with Heather and Brock Osthoff below!

attachment-!Radio Interview Banner
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Art on the Dubuque Riverwalk (2023-24)

A look at some of the artwork featured on the Dubuque Riverwalk along the Mississippi River and the stories/statements behind them.

Gallery Credit: Steve Pulaski

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