IRONMAN St. George will be my first IRONMAN. It will also be a milestone in my efforts to raise awareness for mental health, and make strides against the stigma people experiencing a mental illness face. Triathlon is now my athletic passion, but it was not my first. Growing up playing hockey, I dreamed of becoming a professional goaltender. I never thought I would quit the sport I loved after making it to the college level—but that is exactly what I did in the midst of experiencing a mental illness (read Andy's story here: "Andy Cook's Biggest Save"). That is why the challenge and the outreach Ironman provides hold special meaning.
Through the IRONMAN Foundation's "Your Journey, Your Cause" program I am racing to raise awareness and funds for Regions Hospital's new mental health building in St. Paul, Minnesota. And just as IRONMAN is more than a race, this effort is about more than a building. Every stride and every story takes us one step closer to leaving stigma in the dust. In collaboration with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), we hope to change the face of mental illness and transform the future of mental health care. Ironman, unlike any other sport, is a challenge of mind power and an incredible display of human spirit—the very qualities a mental illness can hide. It is my hope that together we can cross the finish line of this journey towards knowledge, understanding, compassion and care. To support Andy’s cause Donate Now.