My name is Paula, and I'm on the road to Boston 2020! This January I will be turning 50! Some people want, wish for, or desire something big for their 50th, like traveling to some place warm, Vegas, or a big party to mark the milestone. My wish for my 50th is to run the Boston Marathon! I've always dreamed about running Boston since I was in high school. Each year I've watched the news highlights and marathoners cross the finish line, and each year I've said, "Maybe that will be me someday." Well, this year is my someday!
I would like to share a little about myself and my why. I've been married to my wonderful and supportive husband, Phil, for 21 years. Together we have 3 beautiful boys, Will (19), Landon (15), and Gavin (11). I also have an amazing stepdaughter, Nicole (22). I am by no means a professional runner. I actually started running when my youngest son received an autism diagnosis. I found that running helped to relieve stress, clear my mind, and provide me with added strength and energy to face his diagnosis and help him to be the best he could be!
I currently work as a Coordinator of a Therapeutic Day School with students who have an emotional disabiltiy. I have worked with this population of students for twenty-five plus years, as a Teacher, Behavior Analyst, and now a Coordinator. My students encourage me to never give up, and motivate me to keep learning so that I can be their best advocate. I believe and advocate that mental health is just as important as physical health.
My biggest part of this journey to Boston 2020 is my why. My cousin, Scott, was like a little brother to me. We spent every holiday together. There were many family cookouts, gatherings, trips to the beach, and many great memories made throughout the years. He gave the best bear hugs and his smile lit up the room! He was a son, husband, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, and friend. Scott was a Navy Veteran. On the outside it appeared as though Scott had it all. Five years ago, Scott's life ended by suicide.
What I would do for one more hug, one more phone call from him, one more email or text message. I often think about the should haves. I should have known, I should have called more, emailed more, gone to visit more. These should haves pull on my heart strings each and every day. Scott would have turned 40 this year. My family now has a missing piece, it will never be whole again.
Scott is my why!
The mission of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is to save lives and bring hope to all those impacted by suicide. I run for hope, I run for mental health awarness, I run for suicide, I run for Scott.
Please help support me on my journey to Boston 2020.
Thanks for reading.