Minnesota man raises awareness about suicide in a special way

Evan Hansen will walk from the South Dakota border near Luverne all the way to Wisconsin
Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 6:26 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2021 at 7:24 PM CDT
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(KEYC) - 26-year-old Evan Hansen has always been an outdoorsman, the idea sparked in his brain to carry a canoe through the terrains of Minnesota.

It wasn’t until he lost four people close to him where the idea turned into a motivational tool.

Hansen is on a mission to honor those who have lost their lives to suicide and raise $100,000 for a cause close to his heart.

Through a courageous and challenging hiking expedition called Portage for a Purpose.

“The overall message is to let people know that they are not a burden and they are not alone,” Hansen said.

Hansen will walk from the South Dakota border near Luverne all the way to Wisconsin.

The Hampton Inn in Fairmont was just one of many rest stops that Evan Hansen took on his long and honorable journey.

It’s just him, his canoe and honoring those who have lost their lives to suicide.

The 15-pound canoe that weighs on his shoulders is something that Hansen takes on every day he travels.

He says it’s the least he can do.

“It symbolizes the invisible. Mental illness is not something you can see or touch,” Hansen explained.

Trekking through southern Minnesota wasn’t the original destination for Hansen.

He wouldn’t have had it any other way.

“I had to switch routes due to the wildfires up North, but that was ultimately a good thing because I’ve gotten to meet a lot more people. Get a lot more support and raise a lot more awareness for the cause. So, it has been a blessing in disguise,” Hansen stated.

313 miles from border to border, Hansen travels, but he is not alone.

He is hiking with over 351 names that have either been submitted to him or handwritten on the canoe of those who have lost the battle to mental illness.

Which is something that will live with Hansen forever.

“I just said welcome to the family quietly to myself as they were driving away and I almost started crying because all of the names collectively feels like this family of people that we have lost,” Hansen said.

This endeavor is a combination of his love for hiking, paying homage to his friends, giving strangers closure and chasing down horizons.

If you are interested in donating to his $100,000 goal, visit this link.

You can also follow along on his journey here.

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