Break the Stigma Awards

Break the Stigma Project understands that it takes more than a run across Minnesota to raise awareness of mental health issues and to bring light to those who may be suffering in silence due to the stigma that surrounds them. People often live without hope because they don’t believe that what they are experiencing can be treated.

That is why the Break the Stigma Awards, in honor of Dan Dragich, are being created. Each award will consist of a plaque and $100.00. Please have the nominations in by November 1st, 2014.

There are numerous individuals and organizations working hard to change the stigma surrounding mental health issues, and it is important that they be recognized for their efforts. As such, we are seeking nominations for our first “Breaking the Stigma” awards.

There are three categories:

1 – Individual,
2 – Group or Organization,
3 – Youth (Group or Individual School Age).

If you know of an individual or group that you would like to nominate, please do so by answering the following questions:

1. Name of the organization or individual and which category they fit into (Individual, Group or Youth).
2. Briefly describe why this individual or group should be nominated, including what efforts they are taking to break the stigma and what audience they are reaching.
3. Any social media links (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) or website addresses associated with your nominated entity.
4. Your contact information and the contact information of the nominated entity.

Send applications to:

Thank you to Paragon Billing for making this possible!

Who is Dan Dragich?

Dan Dragich was a son, a brother, a grandson, an uncle, a nephew and a friend. He was a musician of extraordinary talent. He had a stunningly beautiful voice. He played many instruments, but was most skilled with the guitar. He carried his writing notebook with him where ever he went, and it was filled with his music, his stories, and his doodles. He was born to be on stage as demonstrated by his banter with band members and audiences.

He was a risk taker who loved to push the envelope. He loved reading, animals, the outdoors, and fishing. Dan had an engaging personality, a beautiful smile and a contagious laugh. He was a compassionate and caring person, and he encouraged and touched many people. Dan also suffered from anxiety and depression. He thought he could cure himself. He refused medical treatment of his depression, including prescription medications. He chose instead to medicate himself with alcohol. Depression and alcohol consumed the last few years of his life, and every day was filled with overwhelming sadness for him.

Dan was 30 years, 4 months, 3 hours and 26 minutes old when he killed himself.

Break the Stigma Running Team – New Member!

Welcome our new running member to the Break the Stigma Project’s Running Team, Mr. Michael Borst. These are Michael’s race results – just click on this link below. It doesn’t include his win at Afton and a couple of races in the last month where he placed 1st and 2nd.

Michael Borst

Michael won the Afton Trail 50K race in an amazing time. Michael, April and Jake are not only great runners. But, most importantly, great people. I’m delighted to have them being part of our team.

Announcing a new sponsor! Summit Orthopedics

I little background on Break the Stigma’s new sponsor!

I’ve always loved being outdoors, hiking, biking, running, etc. About 13 years ago I decided to take on running a little more seriously. And without a training plan I started running. In no time I was hurting, I had to stop, too much discomfort. A few years passed on and I decided to try again, and again the same result. Only this time I was not going to give up so easily. I now really enjoyed running.

Long story short, I visited 1 chiropractor, 2 orthopedics, 1 sports medicine doctor and a physical therapist. Many MRIs, shots, you name it. Always being told that it was the IT Band, and then it was my knee cap, that I’d never be able to run more than 5 miles without having any pain. Please, unless I’m dead, don’t tell me it can’t be done.

I have a friend who couldn’t walk without using a cane for a long time. Then a few months later I saw him walking on his own, doing so well, very fit. I asked for his doctor’s mane. I wanted to see this doctor as well. So my journey with Summit Orthopedics began.

Right away this doctor told me that he was going to do one procedure and if it didn’t work out for me. He was going to refer me, not only to a good sports medicine doctor, but one of the best in the country. The procedure didn’t work. This is when I first was referred to and met Dr. Amy Stromwall. The first thing out of her mouth when she saw me sitting in her office was “your running shoes are not good for you”. I thought to myself “Are you kidding me? I just bought these beauties ($125) and look at them! They make me look like Alberto Salazar (no relation, just the same last name).”

I worked with her for a few weeks. During this time I had switched jobs and I was emotionally drained from so many visits to doctors. So I quit. Dr. Stromwall asked me to stay to continue. I just couldn’t, I left. It took me about two years to go back to see her, again. I was coming back from a race in Costa Rica in which I did horribly. I wanted and was ready to get better, and work hard for it!

Why did I choose to go back to Dr. Stromwall? I knew that she was the only person who had been 100% honest with me and had also listen to what I had to say. I never felt any pressure from her, even when I had decided to walk away the first time. So, I went for a second chance, I was ready to give everything I had to get better.

As soon as she walked in the room, she looked at me and said “I remember you. Are you going to stick around this time? I’m going to need 6 months to get you running. Oh, and by the way your problem is not your knee, is your pelvis.”

Many visits, and also great physical therapy work with Stephanie K. and hard work from the three of us paid off. On my last visit to her office she told me she that was moving out of State, but she wanted to finish with me first. What a great feeling that was! To know that she cared enough to finish my rehab!

That same day she told me that I was ready to go running. I did, I ran 10 trail miles for the first time without any pain and was able to complete my first ultra-marathon that same year, only 3 months later. Now I have a few ultra-marathons under my belt.

Summit Orthopedics, everyone there treated me with respect and such dedication I’ve never experienced anywhere else. I still keep in contact with Dr. Stromwall and Stephanie, just to bug them with my crazy ideas, like running across the State of Minnesota. They both have been so incredibly supportive. Now I have met Karie A and she has been the person who helped me have a sponsorship with this great organization.

I haven’t gone back to a physical therapist/sports medicine, but if I had to go back, you can imagine who my choice would be.

This is why I am so honored to have Summit Orthopedics as one of the Break the Stigma sponsors!