Running the Distance for Suicide Prevention!
Thank you for your interest in the Samaritans 2018 Boston Marathon Team!
The 2018 Boston Marathon will be held on Monday, April 16th, and we are excited to be participating as a non-profit partner in the John Hancock Non-Profit Marathon Program for our 11th consecutive year. All proceeds generated from this year’s team will benefit Samaritans’ suicide prevention services including our 24/7 Crisis Services phone and text Helpline, suicide prevention workshops for schools, businesses and community groups, and SafePlace support groups for those who have lost someone to suicide.
Marathon 2018 Sponsorship Opportunities – See your company cross the finish line on Boylston! Corporate Sponsorship opportunities are now available – benefits include your company name or logo on our team shirts for race day, recognition on social media, and more.
Applications for bibs on our 2018 Team are now closed. If you have secured your own bib for the Boston Marathon and are interested in joining the Samaritans Team, please contact Sarah Cahill.
If you are interested in running for Samaritans in 2019, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to be placed on the notification list – you will be among the first to know when applications are available next fall.
Meet This Year’s Team
Andrea Coppola Mendes
Andrea, originally from Tewksbury Massachusetts now lives in Andover with her family and her faithful 17-year-old dog. She is a physical therapist and an educator. Andrea grew up in a loving home with a family of five. In September of 2014, they lost Joann.
Joann was Andrea’s twin, her best friend and her unsung hero. Joann was unique, spirited and full of goodness. Joann was a beacon of light for her family and all those whom she touched. Joann had qualities of strength and warmth; she worked tirelessly with aging individuals as a physical therapist and manager. When she wasn’t working, Joann enjoyed spending time with family and friends and taking care of animals, especially dogs. Andrea’s parents, Paula and Charlie have endured through the unspeakable pain of losing a child. They have found strength among family, friends, church and a Samaritans support group. Andrea’s family has memorialized Joann with a beautiful bench outside of their hometown parish, St. Williams. While Andrea’s family started to put pieces of their lives back together, Andrea decided to bring distance running back into her life. Andrea’s little sister, Renee (an individual with three children and boundless energy), started her own crusade. She organized Joann’s Team and went on to raise over $5,000 for their first annual Samaritans 5K race in Joann’s memory. Andrea’s family has raised $60,000 for Samaritans through events over the past three years.
Refusing to let Joann’s light go out, Andrea will be running in her third Boston Marathon with the Samaritans.
I grew up near Cleveland, OH and, through job transfers, I have moved to MN, KY, and now currently reside (and hopefully forever reside) in MA. Living in New England and being surrounded by the culture of the Boston Marathon and all that it encompasses inspired me to get back to my running roots. In the last four years I have run three half-marathons, four marathons, including one Boston, and am now honored to be running my 2nd Boston with the Samaritans team. I have been a charity runner on two other occasions, running the NYC marathon for Project ALS supporting ALS research funding, and the 2017 Boston Marathon for the Alzheimer’s Association of MA/NH supporting alzheimer’s research and awareness funding. Both of these opportunities allowed me to support causes that had directly impacted people around me and the feeling of giving back both time and money for those causes was very fulfilling.
I remember speaking to my brother shortly after last year’s race and he said, ‘I think it is great that you are doing so much to support those causes, but have you ever looked into supporting an organization that provides funding for suicide awareness and prevention?’ Our mother, Nancy Andersen, took her own life in 2010 and had an immeasurable impact on all of those close to her. I knew after speaking with Eric that I was going to find a way to run for Samaritans. I reached out to the organization and a few months later, I now am a team member and cannot wait to honor the life of our late mother. I know that the money raised will not change what has happened, but I know that if I can help one person from reconsidering their decision to take their own life by supporting an organization that provides as much as Samaritans does, then I am moving the cause in the right direction.
Erin grew up in Worcester, MA with her Mom, Dad and two brothers. Erin currently resides in South Boston with her boyfriend, Cody. She is a proud graduate of Northeastern University and currently works for Polaris Capital Management, LLC in downtown Boston.
This will be Erin’s first full marathon and she is thrilled to be running for the 2018 Samaritans Team to bring awareness to Suicide Prevention!
She will be running the 2018 marathon in honor of her Aunt Kathy and close family friend, Zachary Ford. This run is also for her family and friends who have showed such beautiful and resilient strength during these tragic losses.
Jackson grew up in Wolfeboro, NH and attended Brewster Academy, where he first had the pleasure of meeting Freddy Tonsberg. Jackson writes, “I’ll never forget his contagious laugh and continuous effort to make everyone else laugh as well. He was just always someone you wanted to have in the room.”
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. Jackson now resides in Boston, MA, encompassed by many of Freddy’s close friends. He’s extremely thankful for his “boys” as they’ve provided each other with unconditional love and support throughout the years.
Freddy’s brother Brandon, and inspiration in Jackson’s eyes, headed a fundraiser for the AFSP – Out of Darkness Walk this past fall, and led “Freddy’s Team” to become the number one fundraising team at the event. “What Brandon did was unbelievable, and I hope our close-knit group of friends and family can continue the fundraising efforts to provide support to as many people as we can,” Jackson replies.
Running a marathon has always been a goal of Jacksons and this April will be his first! He’s honored to be a member of the 2018 Samaritans Team as he writes, “Running for such a great organization in honor of one of my best friends is absolutely amazing, and I can’t thank you enough for being selected. It’ll certainly be a challenge but I know Fred will be with me every step of the way.”
Jorge Gonzalez grew up in San Antonio, TX with his parents and two older brothers. He is currently a senior at MIT, where he studies Mechanical Engineering. Before he took up distance running, Jorge was an avid pole vaulter, competing for MIT’s Varsity Track and Field Team. After leaving the team in 2016, Jorge took up distance running as a way of coping with the daily stress of MIT. Jorge has a deeply rooted passion for suicide prevention. When he was 11 years old he lost two cousins to suicide and, in his time at MIT, has lost several friends and classmates to suicide. He hopes that by running the Boston Marathon for suicide prevention, he can both honor the friends and family he has lost, while working to support those that may be struggling with suicidal thoughts. He first learned about Samaritans when he was working with Lean On Me, a startup that provides anonymous peer-to-peer support networks on college campuses. After running in Samaritan’s 5k Run/Walk for Suicide Prevention with Team Lean On Me, Jorge decided to run the Boston Marathon to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention. This will be Jorge’s first marathon and he is very excited for the opportunity to run it for such a worthwhile cause.
My name is Julia and I am excited to be on Samaritans’ 2018 Boston Marathon team! I have struggled with various mental illnesses and a few years ago struggled with suicidal thoughts. The support of mental healthcare providers, my friends, and family help me cope with the lows of mental illness so I can experience all the joys life has to offer. I believe everyone deserves such a caring support system.
Samaritans creates a space where people can truly talk about whatever is on their minds and feel validated in their feelings. In our society where people are so eager to give advice and we are taught to hide our emotions, what Samaritans does is invaluable. No one deserves to face suicidal feelings or any mental health struggle alone. This is why I have been volunteering on Samaritans hotline for 2 and a half years. This is why I helped found a chapter of the Lean On Me text line for college students in my area. And this is why I can’t wait to run the Boston Marathon for Samaritans!!!
Kim has run twenty four marathons and will be running her 10th consecutive Boston Marathon on behalf of Samaritans. She is passionate about increasing suicide prevention awareness and runs in memory of her sister, Jodi Ann Sims, who died by suicide in 2006. Kim and her family have formed Jodi Ann’s Team at Samaritans 5K Run/Walk for Suicide Prevention for ten straight years. Kim also serves on Samaritans’ Board of Directors. She is a CPA and Partner at LMHS, P.C. and lives in Norwell, MA with her four children, Taylor, Avery, Jaidan and Luke.
Laura grew up in Bow, New Hampshire and currently resides in Quincy, MA. Her connection with Samaritans began several years ago when her brother, Garrett, worked as the development manager at Samaritans. As she learned more about Samaritan’s mission, her interest in suicide prevention grew and her passion for giving back to Samaritans magnified. She has run the Samaritans 5ks since 2009 but it has always been her dream to run the Boston Marathon for Samaritans. This will be her first marathon and is honored to challenge herself in order to raise funds and awareness for a cause that is so close to her heart.
She is currently the Assistant Director of the Center for Health and Wellness at Emerson College in Boston. As a health and wellness educator, Laura works on suicide prevention on the individual student level and the community campus level by organizing campus-wide events that bring awareness to mental health issues. She is currently working collaboratively with campus partners and The JED Foundation to ensure Emerson College has comprehensive systems, programs and policies to support student mental health, address substance abuse and suicide prevention efforts. She is determined to find more ways to reach more students who are struggling with depression and loneliness to help them get the support they need. While completing her masters degree in health communication, she partnered with Samaritans to develop a new active listening training program based on Samaritan’s befriender training. Laura feels passionately about helping others become better listeners to one another. Simply taking the time to listen and connect with another person can save a life.
Laura loves the city of Boston and is excited to experience Patriot’s Day as a runner in 2018. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, scuba diving, snowboarding and Zumba. She recently became a licensed Zumba instructor. Laura is so grateful and appreciative of Samaritan’s work with those who are struggling every day and the survivors. Laura can’t wait to cross the finish line for Samaritans.
I’m very proud and excited to be a part of the 2018 Samaritans team running the Boston Marathon.
I’ve previously volunteered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and participated in the Samaritans 5k run this past September. The Samaritans mission of providing 24/7 support and care to people suffering from suicidal ideation hits close to home, as both myself, friends and my family have been impacted by mood disorders and suicide. I’ve personally leaned on the support Samaritans offers in the past, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity to give back and bring a sense of community to a problem that too often isolates the person suffering.
This is my first marathon and I’m excited to train and fundraise with your help to support a life-saving cause. Let’s goooo!
Reed is a junior International Studies major at Boston College originally from Mountain View, California. He, his parents, and his younger brother have lived in Silicon Valley for most of their lives, as well as in Paris, France when he was in grade school. Reed has been a volunteer with Samaritans since February 2016 and is a member of BC’s 4Boston Samaritans group. Since beginning in the phone room, the experience of interacting directly with callers has profoundly altered his outlook on the world. He has become increasingly passionate about suicide prevention, and is running to bring awareness of Samaritans’ work and the power of listening to a broader portion of his community. Several of Reed’s closest friends have struggled with suicidal thoughts or have seen the impact of suicide in their lives. Although he has never had to bear that burden himself, he hopes to make more people conscious of the mental health difficulties faced by their friends and loved ones and how they can best support them. This will be his second consecutive year running the Boston Marathon with Samaritans. Since he chose to spend the fall 2017 semester studying in Beijing, China, the air quality made it difficult to train well in advance, but he cannot wait for a second chance at running the greatest race in the world. At school, Reed works in student government and undergraduate research. He was also inspired by his time at Samaritans to found the Boston College chapter of Lean On Me, the text-based mental health support service that fellow 2018 Marathon team member Jorge Gonzalez is involved with. Reed enjoys running, writing, and hiking in his spare time.
The Boston Marathon holds a special place in my family and has been a part of my life since I was a child. I remember fondly as my Mom would bring myself, my sister Andrea, my sister Karen, and my sister Debbie to Washington Square in Brookline, so that we could cheer the runners on marathon Monday each April. The Samaritans champion a cause that is near and dear to myself and my family, as we have been personally impacted by tragedy with the loss of both my mother in 2005 and my sister in 2012 to suicide. My mother and sister both cherished the Boston Marathon and myself, my son Christopher, my daughter Alexis and my niece Jennifer have all successfully completed the marathon, paying tribute to their enduring memory and championing a number of charitable causes throughout the years. The 2013 Boston Marathon tragedy particularly touched my family, as my daughter Alexis and niece Jennifer crossed the finish line as the bomb’s explosion rang out through the air. My family has run the Boston Marathon each and every year since 2013, in loving memory of my mother, my sister and all the lives touched by the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
Veronica Reichardt, mother of 2. Trey and Cj Reichardt (4 & 6). Grew up on Nantucket where its a little quiet in the winter but the summer are one of the most fantastic places to visit. I have lived in Worcester, Ma for the past 7 years with my husband George Reichardt. I have worked as a bartender at Bocado, Niche Hospitality since my move. I am so thankful for the samaritans. They have grown to become my family. I am so grateful for the relationships I have formed through each and everyone of them. Thank you, Samaritans for making a difference not only in my life but in thousands and thousands of others. I am running the Boston Marathon in 2018 for my 4th year in a row. I’m running for my youngest and only brother. My brother committed suicide in 2007, almost 10 years ago. He was amazing. The love he had for his family and friends was so hard to describe. He loved us all very very much. He was only 15, when my mother found him. I remember that phone call. That called made my heart skipped a beat. I remember so many great things we shared. I used to let him drive my car without a license. He used to eat thousands of dollars of sushi. He loved playing legos. He loved lacrossee. He love swimming at Miacomet. He loved the color red. Thank you Samaritans for making a difference, I can’t wait to run my 10th marathon in April.