Paddling for prevention: Event raises funds for local suicide awareness org

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Paddlers take off from the Army Corps of Engineers campground in Crosslake Friday, July 26, during the second annual Paddle to the Moon and Back fundraiser. Proceeds from the event will go to Saving Hearts for Suicide Prevention. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

CROSSLAKE -- A group of about 100 paddlers participated in a paddle Friday, July 26, on Cross Lake to raise funds for suicide prevention.

The kayakers and paddleboarders launched from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campground in Crosslake, paddling to Moonlite Bay Family Restaurant in the northern tip of the lake. There, participants ate a meal and watched a short presentation on the organization featured for this year’s event, Saving Hearts for Suicide Prevention. The group then made its way back to where it started.

Saving Hearts was founded in 2014 after the founders suffered the loss of a family member, Shane Heyn.

“Saving Hearts was formed to ‘Save the Hearts’ of people who believe their lives aren't worth living and think suicide is the answer,” the group’s Facebook page stated. “We also want to ‘Save the Hearts’ of people like us who are left behind not understanding what happened. …

“Banding together with others that have suffered losses and working together for prevention has been such a help in the process of understanding and healing from these tragic losses. It should not be something that is swept under the rug and hidden from others. Help is out there and we should never give up hope.”


The paddling event marked the second year for Paddle to the Moon (and Back), started by Crow Wing Kayaks and Wind, Wheels and Water owner Jim Bergquist. Bergquist started the event in hopes to raise funds for local charities, a news release stated.

According to Saving Hearts, Paddle to the Moon (and Back) raised $4,030. The group annually hosts a 5K run/walk at Cuyuna Range Elementary School. This year’s charitable run is scheduled for Oct. 26.

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