The letter below was originally sent Tuesday, December 1st, 2015 (Giving Tuesday) to family and friends. If you wish to donate right away and save lives CLICK HERE TO DONATE.
Dear friends and family,
Exactly 139 days from today, I will be running the Boston Marathon as a member of the Samaritans’ team, to raise funding for suicide awareness and prevention, in honor of my sister, Katherine.
My mission is to raise awareness to suicide and mental illness. Katherine died of suicide on March 26th, 2012. She lived with Crohn’s Disease and faced battles with depression and anxiety for many years. On the outside, Katherine seemed to have it all, two precious little girls, a loving and supportive husband and family, a great job, and lots of close friends. None of us really understood or could have imagined her daily internal struggles that she hid so well from so many people.
Did you know? An average of 1 person every 12 minutes dies by suicide in the U.S. That’s 38,000 people per year (800,000 worldwide). Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. 80% – 90% of adolescents that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication.
I choose to raise awareness and to fight the stigma of suicide, to honor my sister’s memory. Someone you know may be at risk. Someone you know may have misconceptions about what to say or not say to someone with mental illness or with suicidal thoughts. You or someone you know may just need someone to be there for them, to listen, to share stories and feelings without judgment, and to help them decide if they need professional help.
I’m asking for your help today to support this cause that is so important to me. Please CLICK THIS LINK to donate and support me: https://www.crowdrise.com/samaritansboston2016/fundraiser/davethompson
My commitment is to raise AT LEAST $10,000 for Samaritans. Samaritans is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide educational and support services to prevent suicide and to fight stigma. They have been there for our family after Katherine’s death. They impact and save lives via their hotline, grief support services, and education programs in schools and elsewhere. Their services are provided free to those in need, but they are not without cost. If you want to find more information about Samaritans and the great work they do, check out their website here: http://samaritanshope.org/.
Please join me in supporting Samaritan’s lifesaving services and educational focus by making a donation today. The sooner I hit my financial goal the more I can focus my energy on how best to create messages to touch even more lives. My blog articles and Pinterest boards over the past several years related to suicide and living for today can be found here: http://www.dreamydream.com/help-and-resources/.
How else can you help? Spread this message. Hug someone close to you now. Be there for others. Share your story. Don’t judge. Be mindful and present every day. Forward this message to friends, family, coworkers, etc who you feel might support this cause or are interested in Samaritans. Let me know if your company is interested in being a sponsor (levels starting at $500). Share and like my Facebook posts with others. Use my website to learn my thoughts on suicide and mental health, to hear my reflections on Katherine’s life, and to follow my training journey to Boston! I welcome ideas for topics to write about, or send me your questions or thoughts on suicide or depression.
Wait, there’s more…I pledge to run all 500+ training miles outdoors in Minnesota to give me continued awareness to the daily struggles that so many people face. Your donations, support and encouragement will keep me going (especially during that week or two in January when the temps don’t get above zero!).
Thank you SO MUCH for your support!
P.S. – You can also support my run by sending a check to: Samaritans, Inc. 41 West Street, 4th Floor, Boston MA 02111. Just make sure “Dave Thompson” is in the memo line!