Name: Bryan Ganley
D.O.B: 7/15/59 or on every race day
Occupation: Heat & Frost Insulator Viking Industries
Years Running: 10 # of Half Marathons: 59 # of Full Marathons 1
Road Runners Iron-Man Award Recipient - 4th years in a row
Tradmarks: Devil Dog Horns, Tarzan Yell, Birthday every race, mole where I can't show
Famous Quote: "Let my People Run"
My story.. When I was 21 years old, my best friend Paul committed suicide. Paul called me that night and talked of numerous issues that were bothering him and he said he wanted to take his own life. I told him not to talk like that and that everything would be fine. Paul took his life that night and my other friend Chuck and Paul's girlfriend found him.
Determined not to go through risking another friend's loss, I contacted The Samaritans of Rhode Island in 1981, one year after Paul's death. There I learned the skills to work the Crisis Hotline/Listening Line, even helping to train and mentor new volunteers and eventually assisting in other areas of our work in suicide prevention.
My 3rd year as co-captain of the Team SamaritansRI at the annual Pell Bridge Run, my family was struck by tragedy. One week before the race, on October 17, 2015, my niece Dana died by suicide.
After years of training and dealing in crisis intervention, I now find myself on the "other side" with the same people who have also gone through this tragic loss of a loved one. With Paul, I had an excuse. I knew nothing about how to deal with depressed or suicidal people.
Now, after 35 years after my first shift on the lines, I wonder how I missed it. That's the guilt that people feel. The survivors always feel the guilt. This is why we say suicide doesn't end the pain, it's just passed to someone else. That person is the survivor - the family member or friend.
But my training has also taught me that I am not responsible for her choice nor is anyone else. My training also taught me that my niece's life (and all those who passed) had value and that value didn't end when she passed. My training also taught me to remember the love.
So on October 22nd, I will be proudly participate in the “Cross the Bridge to Hope” at the 2017 Pell Bridge Run for The Samaritans of Rhode Island. “Cross the Bridge to Hope” is about healing and about love. I will NOT be alone on this journey. All the people I have reached through The Samaritans will be with me. All the people who meant so much to me will also be with me including my friend Kayleigh Raposa, who passed away tragically and whose 5K memorial race inspired me to become a runner.
And of course, I will run remembering the love of my niece Dana.
At the Pell Bridge Run, we walk/run together to remember the love and to have hope. There is hope. Depression is treatable. Suicide is preventable..
To learn more about suicide prevention and the work of The Samaritans of RI, please visit www.samaritansri.org
Thank you in advance to all who support TEAM SAMARITANSRI at the 2017 Pell Bridge Run!
Gratefully yours, Bryan
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