TEWKSBURY — Tewksbury native Andrea Coppola Mendes will run the 122nd Boston Marathon on April 17 as a member of the Samaritans Marathon Team.
Mendes lost her twin sister, Joann, to suicide in 2014, and will run in her memory, alongside 11 other Samaritans Marathon Team runners with the goal of raising hope and awareness for suicide prevention.
“Each of our team members have been touched by suicide and are passionate about raising awareness and educating the public about this important issue,” said Steve Mongeau, executive director of Samaritans. “The stigma and misinformation that surrounds the discussion of suicide and suicide prevention is an unfortunate reality. Our Marathon runners are performing a tremendous service to our organization and the community at large, and are helping to save lives.”
This is the 11th consecutive year that Samaritans, a suicide prevention organization serving the Greater Boston and Metro West communities, has received bib numbers for their Marathon Team. The donation was made to help Samaritans generate awareness about the issue of suicide, educate the public about suicide prevention, and raise necessary funds. All proceeds generated from this year’s team will benefit Samaritans’ suicide prevention services. This includes their 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.
Samaritans will again participate as a nonprofit partner in the John Hancock Non-Profit Marathon Program. Each year, John Hancock donates guaranteed entries to select nonprofits, which use these entries to recruit individual runners to raise money for their cause.
For over 40 years, Samaritans, Inc. volunteers have answered more than 2.5 million phone calls. The agency has trained more than 4,500 volunteers and instructed more than 100,000 individuals through its Community Education and Outreach Program, and has supported over 10,000 individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide. For information about Samaritans, visit http://samaritanshope.org.