Two days before my 45th birthday on October 18, 2015 with my friend and running partner, I made my way to the start line of the Baystate Marathon in Lowell, Massachusetts. Me, hoping just to finish my 20th marathon. He, thinking we would try to run a Boston qualifying time. Well, with his coaching and encouragement (and little bit of crazy!) and my sheer determination to just keep his pace for 26.2 miles, I crossed the finish line that day in 3 hours, 51 minutes and 16 seconds, indeed earning myself (still in disbelief!) a Boston qualifying time with almost 4 minutes to spare.
So yes, I will soon be making my way to another marathon start line, my 24th (eek!). On April 17th, for the 9th consecutive year I will be running the Boston Marathon on Team Samaritans in memory of my sister, Jodi Ann Sims, who this world lost tragically to suicide on July 10, 2006 and all those still fighting their battle with mental illness. With a grateful heart, this year I'm happy to be bringing my own number (finally!) to this special team. I’ve committed to raising $10,000 for this charity that inspires me. The Samaritans rely on the kindness of people who give of themselves and their resources to help others. Your donation will contribute to their efforts to reduce the risk of suicide and increase public awareness of prevention strategies. It will also help many despairing individuals find emotional and often lifesaving support from their volunteer based 24 hour Befriending Services.
If you’d like to help with my fundraising efforts, please feel free to do so online or send a check made payable to “Samaritans, Inc.” to:
Kimberly Jo Gagnon
80 Washington Street
Norwell, MA 02061
Each year, as I lace up my sneakers and wait for the gun to go off at the start line, I think of my sister, feel grateful for the 32 years I had with her and I say a little prayer for all those still suffering from depression and struggling to find their reason to keep moving forward. I hope to run the Boston Marathon on Team Samaritans every Patriot’s Day until God tells me our work is done. And even then, maybe I’ll lace up my sneakers one more time. Just for fun, of course :)
Please support the work of the Samaritans if you can.
Mother, Marathoner, Yogi, Beloved Sister
"One hundred years from now it won't matter what kind of car you drove, what kind of house you lived in, how much money you had in your bank account or what kind of clothes you wore. But the world may be a better place because you made a difference in the life of another