More than 230 firefighters wearing full bunker gear walked in the Miami Marathon Sunday with a mission in mind: To raise awareness for post-traumatic stress disorder in first responders.
The idea started in 2015 by firefighter Claudio Navas, who walked in full bunker gear and a self-contained breathing apparatus tank to honor City of Miami firefighter Danny Alvarez. Alvarez lost his battle to PTSD in 2014, according to the Never Walk Alone website.
Alvarez was a runner, which was what sparked Navas’ initial idea. The Never Walk Alone movement quickly grew to include retired firefighters and spouses, Miami-Dade County firefighters and City of Miami firefighters.
PTSD is characterized by flashbacks, nightmares and anxiety caused by witnessing or experiencing a terrifying or traumatic event. According to a 2015 study, about 30 percent of first responders develop behavioral health conditions, like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, compared to 20 percent of the general population.
Video capturing local agencies making their way across the MacArthur Causeway during the Miami Marathon was posted on Facebook. More than 230 firefighters and police officers walked 13.1 miles to bring awareness to PTSD.