Executive Director Reflections: First Virtual 5K a Huge Success

What exactly is a virtual 5K? I know I am not alone when I say that I honestly wasn’t sure how one would work. To our delight, Samaritans’ first virtual and 22nd annual 5K Run/Walk for Suicide Prevention was as meaningful and successful as ever, thanks to the enthusiasm and creativity of an awesome committee of volunteers and staff!

One of our primary goals was to create the opportunities to share memories and celebrate loved ones, which has been the hallmark of this event since its inception.  We also hoped to engage participants in a program that had a real sense of community, even while physically distant. Participation in all of the activities, direct feedback, pictures, posts and an astounding $562,000 raised indicates that we succeeded!

Let me share some of the event highlights:

  • More than 1,300 participants walking and running around the region and as far as California, Florida, and even in England! Hundreds of individual and unique celebrations included music, beach and park walks, hikes and food, lots of favorite foods. You can see pictures and posts on our 5K Social Media Wall.
  • Cool Samaritans swag and great prizes were awarded to teams with the most members (135), most donors (121) and top fundraisers!
  • A virtual ribbon wall displayed the names of loved ones lost to suicide, along with a virtual memorial scrapbook full of pictures and moving messages.
  • In brief but amazing podcast recordings, you can hear sisters talking about their funny and loving brother, a brave mom sharing memories of her beloved son, and new friends relating the experience of losing a loved one.
  • A very fun playlist of great tunes was curated which you can continue to enjoy!
  • A scavenger hunt sent some of our youngest participants in search of something green and a heart, to hug a tree, and give someone a compliment.
  • Our online auction offered amazing packages, generated some fun competition, and raised over $10,000!
  • Our opening and closing programs provided participants with a sense of being together, even if apart, in their commitment and support of Samaritans. The recordings along with more information is available at the Samaritans 5K webpage.

My most heartfelt appreciation to all of you who supported the 5K. And a special shout out to the 5K co-chairs, Lisa Sarno, Joe Shapiro, and Lilly Beardsley as well as the 5K Committee members. We truly could not have created the community and celebration of this event, and would not have achieved the fundraising success without you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!