The Check-In Foundation aims to raise awareness about the connection between Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and mental health by increasing prevention efforts, offering support, and education in action sports communities.
Meet the foundation board members.
Campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues, highlighting CTE and the need for Check‑In Foundation programs and for more open dialogue on CTE, suicide, and its prevention.
Provide a range of programs in the community that promote wellness and help people understand their own mental health and what they can do to improve and maintain it.
Increase and improve resources required for the long-term sustainability and growth of the Check‑In Foundation.
The Check-In Foundation was founded by April Paige in 2016 after the devastating loss of Clay Watson (partner) and her brother Dustin. The foundation's name spawned from a training tool used by April and Clay for their dog, Bailey. You would often hear one of them asking Bailey to "check‑in" with them. After the death of Clay, the phrase "check‑In" took on a deeper meaning and April's new mission was clear.
The Check-In Foundation was created as a tool to help navigate the process of healing. It aims to serve as a reminder to check in with one another, to reach out, to educate, and to create awareness of the signs of CTE and mental health symptoms.
We understand that suicide is still a taboo topic in society, and that there are parallels between action sports, CTE, head concussions, and the rate of suicides. In addition to the foundation's mission, we offer a safe place to find support without the fear of shame or embarrassment.
April Paige lost her younger brother, Dustin, to suicide on April 13, 1998. She remembers the day before his death like it was yesterday. It was Easter, her birthday, and Dustin was visiting from Omaha, Nebraska. At the end of his trip she saw him off at the airport and returned back home. The following day, everything was normal, until late that night when she received a call from her older brother that Dustin shot himself. 18 years later and there is still no explanation for the loss of her brother. April spent several years in counseling searching for peace and understanding.
Fast-forward to 2016. April and Clay had been living together for a year and half, and their relationship had a bright outlook. Together they re-opened Clay's business and were working together to develop a better way of life that surrounded around their passions: mountain biking and volunteering to get kids on bikes. Their love for each other was hard to miss, and they carried this vibrate energy both individually and together as a couple. On February 4, 2016, that all came crashing down. Clay had driven to one of his favorite local downhill mountain biking spots and took his life.
Suicide often leaves family and friends with no answers, with a broken heart, and on a path of uncertainty. For many months after Clay's death, April often felt like she was living in a bubble, and sought for answers and a better understanding of how this could happen. Not only once, but twice in a life time. That drive plus the love for both her brother and Clay helped her find the path to peace and understanding of suicide.