26.2 Miles for Suicide Prevention!
I am incredibly excited to be running the 2015 Boston Marathon, both in memory of my brother Nathaniel and to raise money for Samaritans, Inc., an organization that focuses on suicide prevention, survivor support, and community education. Nathaniel took his life on April 15th, 2011 after a 13-year struggle with severe Body Dysmorphic Disorder, an OCD-spectrum disorder that is characterized by intense preoccupation with a perceived defect in one's physical appearance. Despite the fact that he sought the best treatment available, his illness slowly robbed him of the freedom and life opportunites that we all take for granted. Each day was a testament to his strength of spirit, and he quietly shouldered his burden with incredible endurance. A brilliant student and gifted teacher, he greatly touched the lives of those around him with his humor, wisdom, and unfailing loyalty. I miss him constantly.
Those who knew Nathaniel remember him as a dedicated and passionate runner. For him, running was both a natural talent and a method of coping with the effects of his BDD and depression. The summer after he died, I myself turned to running as a way to both move through my grief and connect with him by doing something he loved. I completed my first half marathon in his honor that fall, and have never looked back. I like to think of running as Nathaniel's parting gift to me, and it has become one of the most treasured aspects of my life.
Last year I was also given this same incredible opportunity to run on behalf of Samaritans, although I broke my big toe by chance on a stair railing two weeks before the race, and was unable to run. I had surpassed my $10,000 to over $13,000 (for a whopping team total of $255,000) and felt surprisingly ready to tackle my first marathon; the disappointment and heartache I felt after the accident are still with me, and motivating me to try once more after taking the summer to heal physically.
As I begin the daunting task of training once again to run 26.2 miles, my hope is to surpass my prior fundraising accomplishment of $13,401. Please join me in helping support the work of Samaritans by sponsoring me as I train for the second time to run my first ever marathon to honor Nathaniel, the work of Samaritans, and everyone else who has been impacted by suicide. Additionally, please visit my blog for updates on my training and fundraising progress!