It is my great honor to run the 2019 Boston Marathon on behalf of Samaritans. My first encounter with suicide occurred in 2004, when two family members each took their life within weeks of each other. As a young child, I didn’t understand why anyone would deliberately cause themselves harm. Years later, I listened as my best friends told me about hurting themselves, described complicated relationships with alcohol, and confided in me that they weren’t sure they wanted to be alive. I began to learn that many of us struggle with mental illness, and I wanted to better support those around me.
In 2014, I began volunteering with Samaritans, and I was quickly struck by the warmth and positivity that emanates from the phone room. I became a better listener, and I became more comfortable talking with my friends and family about issues surrounding mental health. Over the last four years, I have heard stories from people who are having a bad day, people who are holding pills in their hand, and people who just need to talk. And in addition to the 24-hour crisis line, Samaritans provides grief support services and community outreach programs to encourage discussion and awareness surrounding issues of suicide.
I often tell my friends that Samaritans is the nicest group of people I have ever met, and I am honored to spend so much of my time taking calls and supporting other volunteers. It is my hope that by running the Boston Marathon, I can begin to repay the immense debt I owe to all of my friends here, on both sides of the phone line.
Please join me in this incredible journey to support Samaritans in staffing the phone line, providing support for those who have lost a loved one to suicide, and arranging workshops and community education opportunities. Every cent of your donation will go directly to Samaritans, and together we can work to support those of us who have been affected by suicide.
To learn more about Samaritans, visit samaritanshope.org or call the 24-hour crisis line at 877-870-HOPE (4673).