Celebrating My Brother

Samaritans 5K

5K Team Captain, Lauren Gablinske, has organized Derek’s Team in memory of her brother, Derek, who took his life on November 28, 2011.

I’ll never forget sitting at my kitchen table on Thanksgiving day two years ago.  I found myself reflecting upon how fortunate I was to have a happy healthy family to celebrate the holiday with. I remember thinking how lucky I was to not have suffered a significant loss of someone near and dear to me.  Little did I know that four days later, at the age of 29, my brother would take his own life. Since then, I have known others within my extended family and friends to also take their lives.

My brother Derek was someone you couldn’t be around for more than five minutes without crying from laughing so hard. He was the person you turned to when you were having a bad day to make you feel better. He was the one all my friends had crushes on growing up. He had the brains, loyalty, humor, and good looks to accomplish anything he wanted in life. He had everything to live for.

Looking back now, I can see what may have been warning signs leading up to his death. This is what brought me to the Samaritans. The Samaritans, to me, represents the hope that someday no family will have to go through what we have been through. It represents a place filled with people that are dedicated to helping others see through the darkness and fight through the pain.

This will be the first year I run the 5K. 

My goal in participating in this 5K is to raise awareness for something I feel needs to be brought to light. As I navigate through the healing process it’s important for me to find ways to help others who may be feeling what Derek felt. It is to let them know they are not alone, there are people who understand how they feel, and there are people who want to help. With this first 5K, my hope is that I am able to do my part to raise awareness of suicide and mental illness while at the same time celebrating the amazing person my brother was. I hope this is the first of many 5Ks I participate in with the Samaritans.

It’s not too late to sign up for the Samaritans 5K Run/Walk. Please visit www.samaritans5K.org.

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That Light Mike Gave Us

Memories for Mike E.

Today is National Suicide Prevention Day! Samaritans 5K Team Captain, Heidi Stavris, shares the story of losing her friend, Mike, three years ago this month, and why she chooses organize Team Memories for Mike E. and raise awareness for suicide prevention.

I first met Mike Emanuel with his close friends, Chris and Peter, when I was in 7th grade. Through our after school hangouts, pool parties, trips to the mall and many movie nights, middle school was over too soon. In came high school with the dances, new schools, and new friends. It wasn’t until 11th grade when we all went separate ways and I lost contact with the guys. It took one random night when I was visiting my friend at Northeastern University when Mike and I literally walked into each other. From that point on, we bumped into each other at the most random times, without conversation or plans in between. The last run-in I had with Mike was in early July of 2010. We hung out just about every day, had dinner at different restaurants, saw a movie or two, picked out Halloween costumes together, and even planned to attend a Halloween fundraiser for a friend. Mike and I would laugh just about the whole time we were together. We were all grown up and there was nothing stopping our planned time together, so I thought. 

I had no idea what Mike was going through. Although he told me some things about his family and how he missed how close he and his friends used to be; he never gave me reason to doubt his happiness…until the day I got a phone call from a mutual friend of ours telling me he was no longer with us. 

After hearing this horrifically shocking news, my close friend, Tom, told me about a race he runs for his brother who he lost to suicide. As soon as he told me about the Samaritans 5K, I was Googling it. Once I registered, the Samaritans called me to check-in and hear my story – not realizing that my story began at 8:45pm, that very same night, on September 27, 2010. 

I have only been asked “why?” regarding my involvement with the Samaritans once…but my response honestly came from the bottom of my heart when I said, “I run to carry on the life and light that Mike gave us every time we were with him. It’s important to carry that on, and share with others how wonderful he was, how this guy could really walk into a room and demand happiness from everyone. And now that is what my team does because we carry on his torch together.” I have heard from the guys that he truly was “that guy” when they would all go on vacations together. He would help anyone out, make friends with everyone, and have the biggest smile on his face the entire time. If he knew we made such a big deal out of him these days, I think he would be a little embarrassed but we don’t care because this is how special he was to us… So incredibly special enough to raise awareness to help others who struggle, so that they don’t lose sight of their light.

Thank you, Heidi! To find our more about Samaritans, please visit www.samaritanshope.org. And to get involved with the Annual Samaritans 5K Run/Walk, to go www.Samaritans5K.org.

BlogForSuicideAwareness

So That Everyone’s Voice Is Heard

Samaritans 5K Team

“The Mayors of Allston”

New team, The Mayors of Allston, and their team captain, P.J. Lee, are excited to be participating in the 5K for the first time this fall. While they’re not suicide survivors, their team members understand the importance of Samaritans’ services in the community and hope to increase awareness about suicide prevention through their participation. Read more from P.J. directly about their reasons for running:

Samaritans has always been an organization that I have had a special place in my heart for. From first getting involved with them during my early high school years, to helping advertise Make Noise To Save a Life, to interning on the Samaritans marketing team my sophomore summer of college, to now taking it to the next level and running the Samaritans 5K, I am always exploring new ways to get involved with an organization that I consider family.

I have lost some friends and acquaintances to suicide, but I am very thankful that I have never lost a best friend or a family member. Although I have not been deeply affected directly, those I know that have been affected or even those that I do not but have heard their stories, I cannot help but feel overcome with emotion and the ultimate drive to do whatever I can within my power to help carry on Samaritans mission of making Boston a happier place for everyone.

My friends and I are running this 5K because we want to show our support for this amazing organization that works 24/7 to make sure that every voice is heard and to spread the message of their mission to make Greater Boston the happiest and healthiest place it can possibly be. 

Thank You!
The Mayors of Allston

Way to go, guys! And thank YOU for your support!

Why We Walk

Dosie’s Team is walking in celebration of the life of Greg “Dosie” Dosenberg. The world lost Greg on December 20, 2002 and ever since that date his family and friends have been dedicated to helping raise suicide awareness in our community. Greg’s sister and Team Captain, Sue Kelly, says that, “supporting Samaritans not only helps individuals in crisis, but the families of those individuals, helping us all know that we are not alone.” Click here to view the Dosie’s Team Homepage.

Please take a moment to watch the video – Why We Walk – produced by Dosie’s Team in 2012. Accompanied by the beautiful singing voice of Sue, read for yourself why Dosie’s Team chooses to return to the 5K year after year.