Meet the Samaritans 2018 Boston Marathon Team (Part 3)

Boston Marathon runners prepare for big day

The Samaritans 2018 Boston Marathon Team continues to ramp up both fundraising and training, with more than $44,000 raised toward our team goal of $145,000! The 13 dedicated individuals on this team are loss survivors, volunteers, and people that have benefited from our Helpline. They are taking on 26.2 miles to raise funds and support Samaritans’ programs and services. Each month, we’ll be highlighting a few members of our team to share their stories. This month, meet Erin, Jackson, and Veronica! (Pictured above: Erin, Jackson, and Jorge).

Erin RogersA woman runs in a race with her arms thrown in the air in celebration
Having lost both a family member and a close friend to suicide, Erin Rogers is passionate about channeling her loss into tangible support for suicide prevention. She says, “I can’t bring back those we have lost, but I can bring awareness to this cause and to the resources that are available to help through the darkest of days.”

While this will be Erin’s first full marathon, she is no stranger to training for a big run, as she completed the Worcester Running Festival half marathon last year. Erin is diligent with her preparation for the big day, combining classes at the gym, personal training sessions, and team runs. “I get to see some of Team Samaritans every week. It’s very comforting to show up to a run at 7:30 on Saturday morning, and know that you aren’t going to run 18 miles alone! It allows team members to challenge each other, and bond over the cause.”

When asked about her family and friends’ reaction to her preparation, she mentions, “They have been so supportive. Suicide has affected many of them, so they’re so excited for me, and have been generous with my fundraising.” Erin has been working toward her goal of $10,000, and is hosting a fundraiser on Saturday, February 24 to get closer to achieving that milestone. For more information, find the event here:

Erin lives in Boston, MA. Check out Erin’s fundraising page and follow her journey at #MilesforMentalHealth and #StridesForStrength.

Jackson CallahanTwo men smile in a friendly embrace
When Jackson Callahan attended Brewster Academy, he first had the pleasure of meeting Freddy Tonsberg. Their friendship would transition from high school classmates to college roommates, and the two created lasting memories through their years at the Academy and High Point University. “I’ll never forget his contagious laugh and continuous effort to make everyone else laugh as well. He was always someone you wanted to have in the room.”

After losing Freddy, Jackson wanted to find a way to honor his friend. Running a marathon has always been a goal of Jackson’s and this April will be his first! He’s honored to be a member of the 2018 Samaritans Team as he writes, “It will be a challenge but I know Fred will be with me every step of the way.”

To prepare for the challenge, Jackson has been running four times a week, and recently tackled the Martha’s Vineyard 20-miler. Participating in the 10- to 20-mile team run each Saturday, Jackson echoes Erin’s remarks. “It’s been fun working day-in and day-out with a group of people who all share the same goal! We all share a common connection to the cause which has made it very special to me.”

Jackson lives in Boston, MA. Check out his fundraising page at Jackson Callahan and follow his journey at #10for10.

Veronica ReichardtA man and women pose and smile after the Boston Marathon
A Boston Marathon veteran, Veronica Reichardt is running her fourth marathon for Samaritans, and tenth marathon total! After her youngest and only brother, Vaughn, died by suicide in 2007, Veronica found help and support at Samaritans.

“Samaritans has grown to become my family. They have made such a difference in my life, and the lives of many others. They have opened my heart to happiness and showed me that, even with a loss, we can heal by sharing my brother’s story. By sharing his story, I have learned to make a difference.”

Veronica grew up in Nantucket, “where it’s a little quiet in the winter, but during the summer, it’s one of the most fantastic places to visit.” She plans to hold a fundraiser on the island on March 11, from 4-7 p.m. at Island Kitchen, with additional details to come. Between planning her fundraiser, running at least 3-5 miles a couple times each week, and completing long runs on the weekends, Veronica has been keeping busy in preparation of the big day.Woman smiles while holding Boston Marathon program

Throughout her training, Veronica never loses her dedication. “The love that my brother had for his family and friends was so hard to describe. This is why I run — I run for Vaughn.”

Veronica lives in Sturbridge, MA. Check out Veronica’s fundraising page and see her video at #RunForVaughn.