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Sauk Prairie teacher laces up for change, raises $27,000 for NAMI

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 6:29 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 6, 2021 at 7:03 PM CDT
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SAUK PRAIRIE, Wis. (WMTV) - Running a marathon is nothing new for 26-year-old educator Farit Kuri-Azamar.

He’s laced up for several different long-distance courses, but this time, it’s just him, running solo from his hometown of Sauk Prairie to the State Capitol.

It’s a “Marathon for Life” raising money for the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI).

“Mental health is everything,” Azamar said. “I’ve gone through my own mental health problems with how to cope with my anxiety.”

Azamar’s journey began in Jan. 2020 when he was in a car accident.

“I was driving outside Sauk, and then I woke up at UW hospital,” Azamar said.

Azamar woke up with a broken nose, a concussion, and an anonymous note at his bedside that said he fell asleep at the wheel.

“To this day, I don’t know who wrote it, I don’t know if I fell asleep or not, but I was lucky that I had my seatbelt on, otherwise I probably would’ve gone through the window and I probably wouldn’t be here today,” Azamar said.

He survived, but with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, Azamar hit a breaking point in his recovery.

“I was considering dropping out of school at that point, and I was in a really bad place mentally,” Azamar said. “I ended up writing a suicide note in my phone in my notes app.”

Azamar’s stepfather, Francisco Rodriguez, recalls the moths after the crash.

“He was just completely destroyed, [he was] devastated,” Rodriguez said.

“Luckily I had really supportive, friends and family, telling me I was going to get through it,” Azamar said.

“We said, you just need to keep going, we support you,” Rodriguez said.

Azamar made it through. He graduated in Dec. He is now a K-5 Physical Education and Health teacher.

“We are just so proud of him,” Rodriguez said.

Now, Azamar wants to make a difference for anyone struggling with his or her mental health.

“This is not about me, it’s bigger than me, making individuals the focal point of those who need love and support and letting them know, it’s okay to not be okay,” Azamar said.

Azamar completed his marathon around 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Since March, Azamar’s raised $27,000 for NAMI leading up to the run.

The money will go to NAMI’s Wisconsin and Dane County chapters for mental health education and treatment focusing on children and young adults.

If you or anyone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

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