“To open the door for an abused child, even if just a crack, is to let in a light that could change the trajectory of that life forever.”


The great secret of death, and perhaps its deepest connection with us, is this: that in taking from us a being we have loved and venerated (adored), death does not wound us without, at the same time, lift us toward a more perfect understanding of this being and of ourselves. -Rilke

Dario Amadeo Martinez (1964-2014) was known for his charisma, gentle spirit, brilliant mind, and his beautiful, warm smile. He was also known for driving his much loved dogsledding team for thousands of people from around the world when they came to Alaska.

What wasn’t well known about Dario, however, was what was driving him; why he settled in Alaska, became a musher, connected so easily with dogs, ran toward some people and away from others, and ultimately why he ended his own life. What was driving Dario were deep emotional scars carved from years of what experts term “the most psychologically damaging abuse a child can suffer.”  What began as a toddler and continued for much of his childhood, impacted Dario his entire life.

Dario spoke often, to those closest to him, of not “having a voice” when he was a child. The more he remembered about his past, his need to have a voice became overwhelming. Consequently, Dario spent his last years passionately working on developing new programs to reach children of abuse. Some of his programs combined his passion for his dogs and others did not, but regardless of what he was working on, it was always seeking a way to bridge worlds to make a difference in the life of the most vulnerable…including himself.

When Dario passed, it made national news without reporting “the real story.” His pain remained silenced…again. Shame on the media. And shame on each of us if we don’t take the torch from him – even if for a moment – to help him and others who have, or are, suffering like he did.

There are a lot of easy, simple, quick ways to take up that torch!  Everything from pre-ordering the I Love You This Mush children’s book (via the crowdfunding campaign supporting the book) to taking a simple one-hour online course on abuse awareness…even donating the classes to teachers or an entire school to increase awareness!

Please take a moment and learn how easy it is to matter. To them. To you. To Dario’s Legacy.



“To open the door for an abused child, even if just a crack, is to let in a light that could change the trajectory of that life forever.” ~ Dario Martinez

Dario’s Legacy exists to to honor the life of Dario Martinez by furthering the work he was doing at the time of his death: creating programs to reach children and adults who are the victims of child abuse and neglect.

It includes programs that were created or influenced by Dario. It also supports partner organizations that provide education for creating awareness and ending abuse and neglect; organization that work diligently to reach victims before their wounds become life-long scars.

Dario’s Legacy is  a way to make Dario’s life matter the way he wanted it to…to make the difference he wanted to make.

It is a way to tell his story. It is a way to give Dario a voice.


Learn How