Arlington runner to take on Heartbreak Hill in memory of Shaira Ali and in Support of Arlington Youth

Winter Runner
Winter Runner
Helene Newberg, an Arlington resident since 1995, will run in the 118th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 21, 2014. By running, Helene will help Samaritans, a local suicide prevention organization, raise awareness and much needed funds for its life-saving services

Helene is one of 24 people who are running the distance for suicide prevention for Samaritans and the team has already raised over $120,000. This will be her second Boston, and her fifth marathon, in addition to several half marathons, shorter races, and two triathlons. Helene is honored to use her running to raise awareness of adolescent mental health issues.

She is having a fundraising party at Joe Sent Me in Waltham on March 22, with a silent auction including donations from Arlington businesses and providers including Dr. David G. Wyman, Chris Juliani, Jennifer Parker, Jen Navarro, among others. A raffle will include gift certificates to Coyote Impressions, Taza Chocolate, and Marathon Sports as well as signed mystery books by local authors.

Nine of Samaritans’ runners this year, including Helene, are returning to run the distance for suicide prevention again after they were unable to finish due to the Boston Marathon bombings last year. Eight out of the nine runners received numbers last year through the 2013 Boston Marathon John Hancock Non-Profit Program and automatically received the opportunity to run again this year. There was no expectation for them to run for charity again this year but all eight runners have pledged to raise a minimum of $1,000 for Samaritans, a suicide prevention organization that has been serving the Great Boston and MetroWest area for 40 years. Last year, they were part of a team that raised over $100,000 for Samaritans’ programs, and this year’s goal is to exceed $150,000.

This year, they will be joining 13 runners who received numbers through the 2014 Boston Marathon John Hancock Non-Profit Program, as well as the first two qualified runners to make the decision to run on behalf of Samaritans.

It is a privilege to be part of the 2014 Samaritans Marathon Team,” said Newberg. "I am honored again to support the good work Samaritans do all day, every day, for so many people in need. Training this winter has brought many challenges. But every time I step outside to train in the freezing cold I remember the tragic events of last year and I’m inspired to make a big difference for vulnerable people in our community. I am humbled by the support I have already received in pursuit of my fundraising goal.

“I am honored to be able to support Samaritans,” added Newberg. “When friends lost a daughter to suicide on Marathon Monday, 2012, I wanted to do something to support them. Ensuring the vital services Samaritans provide remain available for all in need, especially youth, seemed a fitting tribute by which to remember Shaira. This year I am hoping for a strong Marathon run, good running and cheering weather, and an exuberant, uneventful finish in Copley Square.”

Last year, 469 volunteers helped Samaritans answer 142,577 calls and over 900 chats; deliver 268 suicide prevention workshops and community outreaches to 12,937 people; and make over 900 connections with people bereaved by suicide. Every day Samaritans helps people build resiliency skills and this was needed more than ever following the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombings last year when Samaritans saw a 20% increase in its call volumes.

 “Samaritans’ purpose is to reduce suicide by alleviating despair, isolation, distress and suicidal feelings among individuals in our community, 24 hours a day; to educate the public about suicide prevention; and to reduce the stigma associated with suicide,” said Roberta Hurtig, Executive Director of Samaritans. “Our amazing team of courageous returning marathon runners is helping us accomplish our mission through raising awareness and funds for our services that emphasize confidential, nonjudgmental, and compassionate listening. We are so grateful they have chosen to run the distance for suicide prevention again”.

The 2014 Marathon Team is supported by Christian Caldaroni Memorial Foundation, Flavin Architects, Gina Marsh Music, Goldhaber Research Associates, Professional Athletes Foundation and Skidmore & Co.

To make a donation in honor of Helene Newberg and Samaritans Marathon Team, please visit http://www.crowdrise.com/Samaritans2014BostonMarathon/fundraiser/helenenewberg.

More about Samaritans

Over the past 40 years, Samaritans 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.

Samaritans Statewide Toll Free Helpline: 877-870-HOPE (4673)


More about The John Hancock Boston Marathon Non-Profit Program

As part of its Boston Marathon sponsorship, John Hancock donates hundreds of guaranteed entries each year to select non-profits including Samaritans. Organizations use these entries to recruit individual runners who pledge to raise money for their cause. Their 2013 Marathon Program was their most successful year to date with non-profit partners raising over $7.8 million.


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