HELENA — On Tuesday, Shodair Children’s Network announced Dakotah Hurley as the 2022 Montana Champion for the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN).
The 17-year old received care for generalized anxiety, major depression and suicidal ideations at Shodair. He says his treatment drastically improved his outlook and relationship with his family.
“[The care] helped me find hope during such a dark time in my life,” explained Hurley. “Before Shodair I wasn’t really getting along with my family. I was very isolated. I didn’t think I belonged. Post-Shodair it’s very involved and I try to do as much as I can with my family.”
Hurley hopes that by sharing his story he can show others in similar situations that there is hope and that mental illness doesn’t have to control their lives.
“Healing isn’t linear,” noted Hurley. “You’re going to struggle some days, you’re going to be better some other days. I feel that all the time. I go from being the happiest day of my life to still struggling. I just… As long as you can accept that healing won’t happen overnight and you’ll still struggle I think it makes it so much easier to live.”
Shodair CEO Craig Aasved says he is always inspired by kids like Hurley who are willing to open up about their situation and help de-stigmatize the issue of mental health.
“The courage that Dakotah has is absolutely phenomenal,” said Aasved. “He’s just an outstanding young man. He has a bright future and he knows what he wants to do.
As champion, Hurley will travel across the state sharing his story in an effort to break down the stigmas that surround mental health.
Hurley and his fellow CMN champions represent 17 million children treated at CMN hospitals. Shodair is the only mental health and genetics CMN hospital in the network. There are 170 member hospitals that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the U.S. and Canada.
Hurley will be finishing up his senior year at Helena High this spring and plans to attend Concordia this fall.