By Amy Fox -KMOT-TV 10 Minot, North Dakota News
Some say an Ironman Triathlon is the ultimate endurance challenge. But, for Joshua Hull it’s more than just a race, it’s all about the journey that’s led him there.
“It’s a 2.4 mile swim, 112 miles on a bike, followed by a 26.2 mile marathon. And, I can’t think of a better place for me to spend time with my brother and reflect on what life has given me,” says Joshua Hull, Honor Guard.
On Tuesday, December 11, 2012, Andrew, Hull’s younger brother, went home from school, listened to some music and then committed suicide.
“He made an entry in his journal saying I can’t wait for my dad to be home in 9 days,” says Hull. “Winter break is just around the corner. And, within 5 hours, he was dead.”
To family and friends, it seemed like Andrew had everything going for him, or so they thought.
“He went to school, made varsity baseball as a freshman. He was scouted by the Dodgers, the Royals and colleges across the country. He had everything going for him and he was good looking too. So, it was an impulsive decision and that’s what suicide is. It’s a silent killer,” says Hull.
In wake of Andrew’s death, Joshua’s parents have started a non-profit foundation called Andy Hull’s Sunshine Foundation to begin the talking process about suicide with a “you matter” approach.
“We’re not just accountable for ourselves or our actions. We’re accountable to everyone besides ourselves,” says Hull.
Andy Hull’s Sunshine Foundation has developed a website that has everything from awareness and prevention to positive approaches to help spread the message across the country that suicide is not okay.
“We’re not taught how to cope with grief,” says Hull. “It’s not something you teach. It’s something you live and you learn by.”
For Hull, he’s found peace and comfort in running. Immediately following his brother’s death, he ran 280 miles in just three months.
“Grief is where you go to, and you pull the mask over your face and its solitude. And, that’s where you go to cope with your feelings and grieve. For me running that was my place to grieve.”
On September 21, 2014, Joshua is representing Andy Hull’s Sunshine Foundation at the Ironman Triathlon in Lake Tahoe, California. But, he’s not doing it by himself.
“So Andrew was his name. He went by Andy to all his friends. So, I took his handwriting from a piece of homework and got his handwriting tattooed on my arm with some rays of sunshine to always keep me going,” says Hull.
As Hull continues to train for the triathlon, he knows Andrew would tell him to never give up and to keep on fighting.
If you are interested in supporting Joshua’s cause, you can visit www.andyssunshine.com.