The seventh annual Michael Bratton II Turkey Trot fundraiser is taking to the track again Thursday morning, Thanksgiving Day, at Nevada Union High School.
The fundraiser is to raise awareness and assistance for depression and suicide prevention.
“The message at the Turkey Trot is that there are lots and lots of people out there suffering from depression,” Bratton said. “Depression is something like high blood pressure or a cold. It can be treated by medicine and counseling, and we want to reach out and help people and let them know that it’s OK to talk about it.”
Bratton’s son, the namesake of the event, was a prominent member of the community, as a football player during high school and a coach at Nevada Union. He took his own life in 2006.
Mike Bratton, his family and friends came up with the idea for the Turkey Trot after participating in an event in Reno. Thursday’s local annual event features a 5K race, a 10K race and a 5K walk.
Bratton said the Turkey Trot has become a way to reunite the community and bring families together for the Thanksgiving holiday.
“It really is a family event,” Bratton said. “People come together to visit with their neighbors and start the Thanksgiving time off right.”
Proceeds from the event are entirely donated to community programs. Half the funds go to Anew Day, a faith-based nonprofit therapy organization.
“The Turkey Trot is one of the major donors that keep our doors open,” said Greg Dewolf, executive director of Anew Day.
Dewolf said the symptoms of depression can start off small and include feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, eating disruptions, sleep disorders, changes in behavior and, with students, changes in grades.
Additional proceeds go to local youth-oriented activities, including the Friendship Club.
Linda Senner submitted commentary to The Union that the Turkey Trot has become an annual tradition for her family, which was close with Michael II.
“This is a great way to start a day of thankfulness,” Senner said. “I think back and remember how lucky I was and still am to have had such a close friend like Michael. He loved the community.”
Bratton said he and his family appreciate the support from the event.
“It’s a wonderful community-supported event, and the Bratton family appreciates the support,” Bratton said.
Last year’s attendance was around 1,500 despite the rain, he said, but this year is expected to have nicer weather, which Bratton hopes will bring even more people out Thanksgiving morning.
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4230.