Veteran Suicide & Retreat Fund
My name is Michael McCastle. I am a Veteran, Endurance Athlete, 4x World Record Holder and Founder of 'Twelve Labors Project' a philanthropic organization through which I perform "impossible" feats of endurance (Labors) with the ultimate goal of inspiring others while raising awareness for worthy charitable causes, those of which I am deeply connected to.
Having lost more friends to suicide than I would ever have imagined, while in and out of the service, I have chosen to dedicate my '6th Labor' to raising awareness for the Veteran Suicide Rate--estimated to be at 20 per day (2014, Dept. of Veteran Affairs) --and keep this important conversation going. There are many misconceptions about this alarming statistic and I would like to use this opportunity to inform and educate the public, locally and nationally, so that we can direct our focus and assistance toward those that need it most. Regardless of the numbers or rates, every Veteran Suicide is a tragic outcome...even one is, in truth, too many. Suicide Prevention is "everyone's responsibility".
On April 11th, 2017, I will run 20 miles every day for 100 consecutive days to raise awareness of the Veteran Suicide rate currently estimated at 20 per day (Department of Veteran Affairs, 2014). This challenge will consist of runs that span across multiple states, counties and cities--carrying with it the message of my cause. No American has completed this feat in the history of recorded human endurance. It is in part inspired by the Monks of Mount Hiei, also known as the "Marathon Monks", who perform a similar feat as a means to enlightenment. Most of my runs will be in Portland, surrounding mountains and along the coast.
Upon completion of this challenge, myself and a dedicated team of professionals and Veteran Advocates will be hosting a two-and-a-half-day retreat called ‘Remuda Ranch Retreat & Empowerment Center’ designed to create an environment in which Veterans suffering from the toll of their service can release their emotional burdens and reconnect in mind, body and spirit. This retreat will include equine therapy, yoga & meditation, mental strength seminars, cognitive behavioral methods and therapeutic outdoor activities.
All staff and service providers will be working pro bono and covering all costs of the attendees. 100% of proceeds raised from this fund will go toward offsetting logistical and operational costs (travel and accommodations for providers/attendees and a fencing project for the equine therapy arena) of the retreat, as well as provide critical resources for two outstanding Veteran non-profits: National Alliance to End Veteran Suicide and Operation Enduring Warrior.
I would like to personally thank all of you for your support, love and encouragement. Every dollar counts and will go toward an effort which I wholeheartedly believe will change and save lives...but it won't be possible without your help. Please share this cause through social media and email. My hope is that together as a family, community and Nation, we can put a dent in this epidemic that is plaguing our country's bravest and most selfless warriors...’til 20 is zero.
Thank you and God Bless.
Floyd has been involved in "the human potential" for most of his adult life. Having started as a teenage martial artist (out of necessity), and teaching yoga for almost 18 years (also out of necessity), Floyd knows that attitude always trumps the impossible.
Having grown up as an Army brat, until he was 14, Floyd has gone on to become a chef, masseur, carpenter, yogi, father, theatre director/producer, and the owner proprietor of The Little Church of Portland. He believes that anything is possible, and it's our duty to overcome ourselves and reach for it.
Floyd currently teaches yoga and Meditation at Portland Community College, and at the VA (Portland and Vancouver).
It has been a pleasure knowing him and I'm glad to have him on board.
Once again, thank you all for your help in this cause. Please continue to share and spread the word through this link. We have a couple big projects left to complete in order to get our Veteran retreat off the ground and I'm confident that with your help, we will succeed! Helping our Vets and mitigating the suicide rate begins with us...the families, friends and communities our Vets are coming home to and surrounding themselves with. Overall, the training for my 6th labor/100 day challenge has had highs and lows and I have prepared for such. At the end of the day I am just grateful for the opportunity to again put my abilities to work for a worthy cause and use it as a platform to bring awaresness to the issues ar hand. Thank you all again for you love, support and encouragement.
In the meantime, I'd like to introduce to you all another member of my team!
Meet Dr. Margaret Kelleher. She is a Licensed Psychologist, practicing in the Portland Metropolitan area since 1989. Practice specialties include PTSD; adult and child psychotherapy; equine assisted psychotherapy; and collaborative law (helping high conflict families rearrange their legal status amicably). Dr. Kelleher has been working in the equine assisted psychotherapy field since 1991. In 2007, with Equine Specialist, Margaret Gill, BHSAI, Dr. Kelleher was introduced to the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association. She holds the EAGALA Advanced Training Certification and, currently, utilizes only that model of Equine Assisted therapeutic work.