Runners lace up their shoes for Miles for Mike 5K

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SHADYSIDE, OHIO (WTRF) – Runners and walkers laced up their shoes at Shadyside’s Loopfest on Saturday for the Miles for Mike 5K.

The race is held each year in memory of veteran Mike Karkowski, who passed away from PTSD related suicide in 2009.

“I don’t want his death to be in vain,” said Mike’s wife Melissa Karkowski who organizes the event. “My sons and I decided to do something and not just sit back and be victims.”

In addition to raising awareness, the race also donates its proceeds to Dogs for Warriors, which trains service dogs for veterans with PTSD and to Team Red, White and Blue, which treats PTSD related issues with exercise and social interaction.

“More people die from suicides every year than in car crashes and that’s just wrong,” Karkowski said. “There’s no way that that should be happening. They’re suffering in silence. If you need help, get help. Don’t just suffer. Get a dog. Talk to someone. We’re all here. We’re all in it together. That’s the one thing that unites us all is kindness and when we can all be kind to one another and help each other then this can end.”

Karkowski added that this was the sixth and biggest Miles for Mike and she knows her husband would be proud.