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Funds raised from event go to Desert View Family Counseling

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FARMINGTON — The annual Love for Thad 5K Walk/Run will also host its inaugural wellness festival this year to help connect vendors with citizens seeking mental health services or ways to stay physically and mentally healthy.

The annual event on June 29 is named after 13-year-old Thaddeus J. Hale, who died by suicide on Nov. 10, 2014. Thad's mother Amber Hale launched the fundraiser in the summer of 2016.

The funds raised go toward Desert View Family Counseling and help pay for crisis counseling at the office and in area schools for students, according to CEO Rick Quevedo.

"The impact has been huge for the community," Rick Quevedo said. "Before this, there was not a lot of conversation around suicide and not a lot being done about suicide."

The event will kick off at 6:30 a.m. with free yoga led by Emily Faulkner. The 5K Walk/Run and kid's one mile is set to start at 8 a.m. at Berg Park in Farmington.

Hale described this year's event as a "senior's right of passage" as Thad would have graduated from Aztec High School in May. Thad was recognized during the high school's graduation ceremony on May 24 at Fred Cook Memorial Stadium.

Hale stated her family has been through a lot of heartbreak following Thad's death and hopes introducing the wellness festival will help citizens going through a hard time.

"We really didn't want anyone else to go through this," Hale said.

The wellness festival will bring together organizations and businesses from around the area to connect with citizens seeking to become mentally or physically well.

A variety of vendors including non-profit organizations, church groups, sports group, massage therapists and counseling services will be set up and will offer an activity or game for children to take part in.

There are be multiple activities at the event including a children's donut eating contest and a water balloon fight.

A number of items will be featured in the silent auction, including a basket from San Juan College, which donated a scholarship for classes and a year's membership to the Health and Human Performance Center. Other items include artwork and a load of gift certificates to area restaurants.

Live music is scheduled throughout the event, including multiple local bands.

A butterfly release is set to take place at 5 p.m. on June 29 just before Pinon Hills Community Church Lead Pastor Mike Mizell is scheduled to speak.

"So many people support this cause and my family," Hale said. "I can't put it into words, but this community is amazing."

With some of the funds raised from the event, Quevedo hopes to contract people to operate a local suicide prevention hotline.

For more information on the event, visit https://www.facebook.com/loveforthad2019/

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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