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A dad seeks to honor his young daughter’s memory, one step at a time

“It’s very important that we let them know that we love them and we care about them and they can talk to us about anything.”
Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 5:02 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 1, 2022 at 6:48 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Chad Starr has been on the road since Monday morning. Before he’s done, the Ewa Beach man will walk 131 miles ― circling Oahu’s coastline.

“Yesterday we made it almost 22 miles. Today I’m hoping for at least 25 or so,” he said, while taking a short breather.

Starr is walking for his daughter, Sienna. “She truly was an amazing person,” he said.

He speaks about her in the past tense because her short life ended when she was just 12 years old.

“July 1, 2019, we lost Sienna to suicide,” he said. “I don’t think we will ever have an answer as to why it happened.”

The pain is always there.

The walk is his way of honoring her memory. He hopes parents who learn why he’s on the road will have serious conversations with their own kids about what’s going on in their lives.

“A lot of times we say kids are very resilient and they can be. But that doesn’t mean that they always are. That’s why we should definitely talk to them just to make sure,” Starr said.

The statement in large letters on his backpack says, “You are Loved.” It’s his message to youth.

The front of his t-shirt has a names and their ages, Sienna’s and three other youngsters who took their own lives.

It’s his conversation starter.

“I’ve noticed that a lot of people just don’t expect children to do that. By putting their ages on here it’s really helped open people’s eyes, I believe,” he said.

A few people have joined Starr on the walk after reading his social media posts.

He has gotten messages from others offering to feed him or to host him for a night. He’s humbled by the outpouring of aloha.

Since Sienna’s death, he’s shared her story many times.

“Hundreds of people have talked to me. That’s why I’m doing this,” he said.

Chad and his wife have two other children. Their shared grief has brought the Starr family even closer.

“It’s very important that we let them know that we love them and we care about them and they can talk to us about anything,” he said.

Over the next few days, If you see Starr on his walk, honk your horn or shout out encouragement to let him know you appreciate what he’s doing to raise awareness of youth suicide..

If you want to talk, he’d be happy to take a break.

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