Army medic and Medford resident Mike Struppa will March the Boston Marathon this year to raise money for suicide prevention.
Struppa will be in full uniform with a 35-pound rucksack on his back for the 26.2 mile march from Hopkinton to Boston to raise money for Samaritans, a non-profit organization that aims at reducing suicide.
“If you wouldn’t surrender to an enemy on the battlefield, why would you surrender to one on the home-front?” Struppa said in a press release from Samaritans. “It’s hard when you come home, family, friends, bills, life all want your attention. It can be overwhelming and sometimes if you don't live with people who have been there, war is hard for others to understand. I know what it is like to deal with post deployment problems, the questions, opinions, news, they can all be overwhelming."
This will be Struppa's first marathon ever, and he is marching it in memory of his Uncle Nino, and his father Sal, both of whom his family lost to suicide. Struppa served as a medic in the Army for more than 15 years, and has struggled with adjusting to life at home, according to the release.
"In my darkest days, I felt like everyone would be better off without me, now I look back and I see I was wrong," he said, according to the release. "Even if you feel like your life doesn't matter, there is someone, somewhere who you have had an impact on; you have made an impact on their lives. You may not be able to see it, but it is true.
Struppa is one of 15 members of the 2012 Samaritans Marathon team, which has thus far raised over $86,000 for Samaritans, the press release said. Struppa has raised $2,000 so far, but looks to have brought in $5,000 by Marathon Monday.
Other runners on the team include: Marc Bellanger (Westwood, MA), Nicole Costa (Cambridge, MA), Kirstie Crawford (Boston, MA), Andrew Donovan (Weymouth, MA), Meghan Fallon (Duxbury, MA), Lila Flavin (Cambridge, MA), Kim Gagnon-McNiff (Franklin, MA), Samantha Joseph (Boston, MA), Brenda Kline (Dracut, MA), Kevin Quinlan (Carlisle, MA), Nancy Rappaport (Cambridge, MA), Jeff Rubino (Haverhill, MA), Naomi Schwartz (Weymouth, MA), and Isabel Thottam (Boston, MA).