You can Prevent Stigma – A Message from Samaritans CEO Roberta Hertig

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“Thank you for coming to talk to us. I was shocked to find out how many people are affected by suicide. When I went home, I told my mom about your visit to our school. She told me that my brother had been suicidal when he was my age. He is seven years older than me. I knew that my brother had gone to the hospital and to therapy, but until last night, I never made the connection. I was so surprised that suicide had affected someone so close to me. I hope that suicide will never affect someone close to me again, but if it does, I will know how to handle it, thanks to you.”
- middle school student following a Community Outreach and Education Seminar 
Many people imagine suicide as something that will never affect their lives. For the lucky ones, this may be the case. But many others may just not realize that someone close to them has struggled with despair, or may be struggling now. The stigma of mental illness keeps too many from reaching out.

You can reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and save lives with a gift to Samaritans. 

Whether it is a workshop that informs people about suicide risk factors and warning signs, an instant chat that encourages young people to seek emotional support, or a meeting where people who have experienced loss comfort one another, Samaritans makes our community a healthier and happier place to live.

 

An Event is Coming…& Today’s DOD!

It’s official. We have surpassed $5,000 and its only been two weeks of fundraising! This has been a very memorable last two weeks and you may be wondering if it can get any better? Well, the answer is yes.

I am in the process of finding a location to hold a fundraising event sometime in late February (preferably the last weekend of February) to throw an event for everyone who has already helped thus far and for those who are planning on it. I’m aiming to have it in Boston of Cambridge and close to the T.

I found an awesome location that could hold a whole lot of us to have an awesome fundraiser and I’m waiting to here back. I’ll keep you all posted here and once a location is secured its time for garnering in raffle items and raising the hype to an all time high.  If anyone out there is interested in helping or has something that might be good to be raffled off just let me know!

Onto today’s DOD – College Edition! Today’s DOD is Christina Ghiloni & Ian Mayer! Over the years you’ll encounter some real nice people and these two are just that. I’ve known both Christina and Lloyd (AKA Ian) for just about ten years now and met them while at Saint Anselm College. Lloyd and I eventually became roommates and lived in a house on Donald Street in Bedford, NH with a couple of other guys.

Christina and Lloyd have been together as long as I’ve known them and now live in South Boston right around the corner from where I live. Despite not seeing each other as much as I’d like I loved living with these two. I really appreciate your donation guys and hope to stop by your place sooner than later. I can only hope you have a better landlord!

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Today’s DOD – Family Edition!

As a former history teacher I will say with confidence that history is made by those who show up! And I’ve got to say that the entire Bratt Family showed up to help in my mission to support the Samaritans. Before I could blink an eye the Bratt’s were all over my Crowdrise page.

The Bratts have been good friends with my sister for years.  Becky (the coolest sister) met Bessie back in middle school I believe. Both are now current roommates together in Cambridge and Becky recently ran the Boston Half-Marathon. Running has got to be in this families blood because Mr. Bratt is a boss when it comes to getting his run on.

I spent last Marathon Monday with Tory and Becky Bratt on Hereford Street watching their Dad run the Marathon. I’ve been told that Mr. Bratt runs Marathons in his sleep, has professional juggling skills, and is old pals with Tim Berners-Lee.

I was also told that Mr. and Mrs. Bratt met while Mrs. B was writing a story on runners and the rest is history…

Thank you Bratts!

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Kenmore to Cleveland Circle & Back!

Today marks the first official day of training. I woke up at 6:45 a.m. and took the T to Kenmore Square where I met 80-100 runners training for the 2015 Boston Marathon. It was a little chilly but the sun was bright and after the first mile things were fine. I listened to Chvrches Radio on Pandora for the majority of the run but don’t know if I’d do that again.

The run started at Kenmore Square and went down Beacon Street to Cleveland Circle and back to Kenmore. A group of the Samaritans team was in the house and our spirits were pretty high after the run!

Pre-run pep-talk and some members of the Samaritans team post run.

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Almost at 5K & Today’s DOD!

Things have started to slow after bursting out of the gates red hot! After a little over a week of fundraising (a couple of days ago) we have raised $4,871. The donations have come in from family, friends of old and new, and some people myself nor my Mom have ever met. It’s truly remarkable to have experienced such a surge of support from so many different angles and I want you all to know that your gesture to donate if it be something small or large is very touching and you are awesome.

I’ve been on the road this last week so I’ve not been able to keep an active update on the ole blog. With that being said, I’m back and my first official day of training starts tomorrow. I am running 6 miles starting in Kenmore Square. If you’re up and want to take a jog I’ll be at Joint Ventures at 8:00 AM tomorrow. I have been told that hundreds of runners will be there so it should be fun.

I also wanted to shed some light on a brotha-from-anotha-motha and announce today’s DOD. I’ve mentioned before that my experience on the Northeastern lacrosse team was really special. One of the core players I coached was Sean Markes. Sean was such an integral part of the team on so many different levels. Not only was he a starting midfielder his senior year, a captain, and a true team player but he was also our team accountant and helped keep track of the books in making sure we didn’t end up in debt. Sean is straight up an awesome dude and similar to Chuck Svirk a person that my Mom would be happy knowing I’m friends with. After Sean’s tenure I only hope that the number 1 is retired at Northeastern for his work on the team.

Thank you Sean for your help! I really appreciate it!

Here are two photos that show both Sean’s soft/gentle side and tough/sexy side.

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$4,000 and Counting & Today’s DOD!

In one full week we have just surpassed $4,000! That means that we are more than half way to our target goal. Truly Amazing.  A big reason for the quick climb in money raised is because of the help from the St. Sebastian’s class of 1968. A special thank you to David Barry & Family, Bill Driscoll, Jim Dunn, John Goodfellow, David & Barbara Leahy, Mark Maloney, Rich, Paul True, Ronald Rich and many more.

Together, the St. Seb’s class of 68  have all struggled through their own grieving, mourning and difficulties trying to understand the death of several of their classmates to suicide. Their donations are not just for support to my Dad who lost his wife to suicide but also for their close friends and loved classmates. Today’s Donors of the Day are the men of the St. Sebastian’s class of 1968.

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Today’s DOD!

In just under a week of fundraising we are just about halfway to our target goal of reaching $7,500!  These past couple of days have been tremendous on so many levels. Not only have we seen an incredible showing of generosity but I have felt a sense of solidarity amongst everyone pitching in that feels great. I hope in someway that you have experienced this same feeling.

The feeling I have is similar to when I’ve been a part of a team. Throughout my life I’ve been on a lot of teams but the best team I’ve ever been a part of was the 2012 Northeastern men’s lacrosse team. We had an incredible group of guys and we were good. Throughout the season we traveled to Alabama, Arizona, and all over New England. We started out real strong then hit some speed bumps but continued trudging on and ended up in the conference championship losing in the last few minutes to a very strong Buffalo University team. I loved every minute of that season and everything about that team.

Chuck Svirk was a big reason for me applying to work at Northeastern after he told me about the open position and got me fired up about the opportunity. At the time, I remember I was sitting in traffic in Everett, MA really frustrated and out of nowhere I got a call from Chuck telling me to apply for the coaching position which at that moment helped me cope with being in what seemed like one long narrow parking lot on 99 and later provided me with my favorite experience ever being on a team.

On top of all of that, Chuck is an intelligent kind soul. He has a real cool demeanor and is from a really nice family. If my Mom ever met Chuck she would be really happy to know that he was my friend. Congratulation on being today’s DOD and thanks again for the donation Chuck!

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(Pictured -Ryan Shea, Ryan McDonald, and Chuck Svirk)

$3,000 and Counting & Today’s DOD!

I’m really happy to report to everyone that today marks another milestone within my fundraising campaign for Samaritans as we have just surpassed $3,000 in donations! I am very thankful to have such a supportive network of family and friends and your act of kindness to help and support this cause means so much to my family and I.

With that, I want to congratulate both Pat Ruggiero Sr. and Pat Jr. and recognize them as today’s Donors of the Day! Both of these men have been a true force in helping my fundraising efforts in its early stages and have helped give me the confidence that this goal is very much attainable. Pat junior had met my sister Bessie while at Syracuse University and they are currently dating and living in Cambridge.  Pat is a very talented architect and not only works for a great firm in the Back Bay of Boston but is also building his first house back in Pennsylvania where he is originally from. Pat’s been a great addition to our family and when he isn’t building things he listens to good music, makes great food, and climbs mountains in shorts. Similar to his son, Pat Sr. doesn’t feel the effects of cold weather either and is just as generous and willing to help out with an important cause. I spoke with Mr. R for the first time yesterday over the phone and he expressed how much he enjoys my sisters company and that helping out with a donation was the least he could do. The quick conversation really fired me up as he also encouraged me to run hard during my training!

Thank you again Pat Sr. and Pat Jr. for your support in helping raise money for Samaritans to lessen the incidents of suicide within our community and congratulations for being today’s DOD!

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Let the Good Times Roll & Today’s DOD!!!

Once again, today was another $1,000+ day bringing our current total to $2,586!!! Within three days 33% of the total amount pledged to raise for Samaritans has been received. I know I have said this a lot ( and will keep saying it) and probably typed it here-and-there but I am truly so grateful for everyone who has been able to support this cause and seeing the donations come in from new and old friends has really been special to me and my family.

Now, a little out of left field here but I’ve struggled with the idea of writing this blog a bit knowing that some of these things may not be interesting for others to read or maybe some are best kept to the people involved but sharing quick little blurbs like the one I have below really helps bring more attention to what we are raising money for. I also think its nice to remember my Mom in a public space and I think its important to reminisce on little stories so I hope you enjoy.

One of the donations that came in recently was from Marianna Terzakis and it struck a pretty deep chord for all good reasons. The Terzakis family owned and operated a convenient store in the town where I was raised and just a few blocks from where I lived. Growing up, my family would often stop in to pick up something on the go at their store. My Dad would usually get his coffee before his commute at this particular store and my Mom would always have conversations with one of the Terzakis family members who was working. I always remember Chris Terzakis (Marianna’s Dad) working the register with a big welcoming smile and her Mom was just as nice.

Recently, when I reached out to thank Marianna she had mentioned that my Mom was always good to her and she wanted to help. Hearing this felt really great. Its great to know that the connections my Mom made are still very strong and alive today in many of the people she knew and Marianna is a great example.

With all that being said, I want to say thank you Marianna and congrats on being today’s Donor of the Day!

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Today’s DOD

Within 12 hours almost $1,000 was raised today and I am left feeling very grateful to have a network of such generous people. I have a feeling that I won’t see such a huge amount of donors in one day for the rest of my fundraising but I’m going to keep my fingers crossed. So many DOD’s to chose from but one stands out more than most because I saw him walking home from work and he also gave me a ride home so its well deserving that today’s DOD is my great friend Scott Lombardi!

Thanks again Lombardi and thanks to everyone else who has helped me reach my goal of $7,500 to help Samaritans and their work to lower the incidences of suicide within our community.

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