Saskatoon runner inspiring hope amid youth suicide crisis, pandemic
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For five years, Cross Child has been working with schools and Indigenous communities where youth struggle with suicide and mental health issues. Through clinics, runs and pep rallies, kids learn about how to set goals and believe in themselves. Part of the day is learning about the importance of physical activity, but it’s also about motivating the youth with Cross Child’s inspirational story.
Cross Child, who is Blackfoot from the southern Alberta Blood Tribe on Treaty 7 territory, had struggled with addictions and said he was losing his business and his family. When he entered into rehab in 2014, he started a run club in the program. Once he was on the road to recovery, he entered into the Saskatchewan Marathon. Although he competed and won the marathon in 1998, he said it was more meaningful to run in 2015. It felt like a real victory because of the challenges he was able to overcome with the support of his wife and four children.
The youth suicide crisis weighed heavy on Cross Child’s heart, knowing there were northern Indigenous communities that were losing youth at a frightening rate. He wanted to help, and he wanted them to know there is hope.
“I want these kids to experience a victory, something good, something positive in their life that they were able to do,” Cross Child said.
He approached his friend Brian, the owner of Saskatoon business Brainsport, for a few pairs of shoes to take with him and gift to the youth who need good running shoes. From there began a partnership that would grow to include New Balance and Cameco as sponsors.