OFFICER ATHLETE SURVIVES SUICIDE AND TURNS HIS STORY INTO A CAUSE 5k Run and Multi-Race event to raise awareness for mental health issues facing law enforcement.
Agent Doug Monda never saw it coming. In his 15-years as a police officer, SWAT cop, drug agent, lifelong athlete and adrenaline junkie, he was the last person to see what nearly cost him his life. In 2014 Monda was a trigger pull away from taking his own life. “I couldn’t escape the pain. I was so tired of being in pain, physically and mentally and no one could tell me anything or show me anything that could make it go away,” Monda said during a lengthy conversation about why he is now speaking out. “Ultimately, in my mind, at that point, the only way I could be pain free was to leave.” But fortunately for Monda his coworkers and close friends, including Chief Mike Cantaloupe, intervened through a program called Safe Call Now. “That’s what we did. We contacted them and these people from out of state across the country came out of nowhere to help me,” Monda added. “They’re there. You just have to ask for help. This is why I am speaking publicly. I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through.”
Agent Monda now uses his athletic ability and passion for law enforcement to draw attention to the cause. His sponsor, MultiRace LLC, is helping him put on an inaugural 5K in Cocoa Village. The Shine the Light 5K is scheduled for Saturday May 21st at 7:30 p.m. The start and finish for the race will be at Riverfront Park in downtown Cocoa. According to Monda, police patrol vehicles will line portions of the course and select organizations representing mental wellness, suicide prevention, drug and alcohol abuse prevention and others will be set up in the park providing information. The following day, MultiRace will host the 2016 Tri Cocoa Village Spring and Olympic Triathlon at the same location. “It’s all about awareness and knowing there is help available if you just ask for it,” Monda said. “I am so grateful for the people who helped save my life and I want others to see that if I can make it, they can too.”