Last April 2019 I found myself in Boston for Marathon Monday. Not because I wanted to, but because I took an Amtrak from NYC to say goodbye to my close college friend, Rachel McKay, who had lost her battle with mental illness. Rachel will forever be a true light, a lover of dogs, cigars and craft beer. She had a unique ability to crack just the right joke at just the right time – it would make the whole room laugh until we cried. She was a loyal teammate and an incredible friend; someone I’d go to for guidance, someone who was constantly telling me how proud she was of me, someone I’ll never be able to truly say goodbye to. I’ll always remember watching the Boston Marathon that rainy April day in 2019 with a sense of grayness surrounding me. I was filled with such immense grief as dedicated competitors ran by, thinking of Rachel and trying to grasp the idea that life moves on.
Exactly one year later I’ll be taking the Amtrak back to the city Rachel called home, this time to run the Boston Marathon in Rachel’s honor and on behalf of the Samaritans – an incredible suicide prevention non-profit. These months of training and the 26.2 miles that I will face on April 20, 2020 will no doubt help in the healing process. But, more importantly, it’s a journey to remember Rachel as the incredible fighter she was and to remind us all that there’s grace in times of darkness; immense strength and beauty in asking for help in times of need.
As the Samaritans mission so poignantly states: “You are not alone.” For over 40 years, this non-profit has been helping families and friends cope with their grief after a losing a loved one to mental illness. They provide resources to those battling their own mental illness. It’s an honor to raise money and awareness of this phenomenal organization. If you have the means I’d gratefully appreciate your generous donation. If you donate a penny or a million dollars to the Samaritans organization, just know -- every amount counts.
Please remember that this life we’re living is a beautiful mess, and we’re all in it together. You’re never alone.
I’ve been told the hills of Boston will test me come marathon day, but I’ve got the best cheerleader up above. Rach, these 26.2 (and every cold one after) are all for you. Xoxo