Woman runs 9 hours and 11 minutes to bring awareness to veteran suicides

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Nine hours and 11 minutes. For most people, that's a workday or a flight to Europe but for Rachel Zelibor that's how long she ran Friday.

Zelibor is raising awareness and money by running for Bravo Alpha Initiative -- which has a mission to support veterans and first responders recovering from post-traumatic stress and self-destructive actions.

"If I can come out here for 9 hours and 11 minutes and be miserable, it's just a minute day of my day," Zelibor, who is the child of two veterans, said. "Every day they do it, but they also come back and live with the repercussions we'll call it. The compartmentalizing what they've seen, what they've had to do. If I can bring light as to what they have to go through every day after they come home and bring awareness to that then I will.

"I'll come out here for 9 hours and 11 minutes to do that just so they can have a little piece of mind mentally," she added. "Nobody should have those mental demons that they have to face."

In 2019 the Veteran's Administration reported that there were 31.2 veteran suicides per day. That's more than one an hour.

"I can remember watching the towers in college and just watching them fall and just feeling broken and knowing what that meant that we were going to war," she said. "It just puts passion in me and that's why I'm here. It drives me. It makes me think of all of those members, the 33 a day that can't fight anymore. There is someone who loves them who wants to fight for them. I can't fix them, but I can certainly go out and raise awareness to hopefully go out and make changes with how mental health is looked at as a country and more OK."

The goal is to raise $27,357.33 by the end of the month. Click here to donate or find out more.

"If I can bring awareness to suicide just to help one person ... it can make the world of a difference," she said. "I think it goes with that mental health, just bring the stigma that we need to help people and it shouldn't be sad to take a medication if you need it and a little therapy. It will be OK and we have people to help you."

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255).
Copyright © 2022 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.