Last week, the Department of Veteran Affairs released a new statistic that roughly 20 American Veterans commit suicide per day.
When Ash Weaver saw the original statistic five years ago, it moved him to create awareness and raise funds for Home Base, a Massachusetts General Hospital and Red Sox Foundation program.
“The reason why I first participated in the Run to Home Base, the real glass-shattering moment for me, was when I read about the statistics of how many Veterans commit suicide every day and I asked myself, ‘How can we let this happen? What can I do to raise money and raise awareness?’ This is a small way for me to give back and try to repay the sacrifices that Veterans have made.”
The Run to Home Base is a special event that celebrates our Military Heroes and raises necessary funds for Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program. Home Base works to heal the invisible wounds of war for Post-9/11 Veterans, Service Members and their Families through world-class clinical care, wellness, education and research. Invisible wounds include post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and other issues associated with the deployment cycle.
“Home Base reassures Veterans that it’s OK to go talk to someone and ask for help and not self-medicate the problem. I think one great thing they do at the race is have Veterans come speak to the crowd about their experiences, so I hope brave people like them are encouraging Vets to go seek help before it’s too late.”
Weaver has participated in the annual run since 2011 after hearing about it from a friend. Over the past five years, he has seen the vast array of runners who partake. “To see a wide variety of people participating is special. You’ve got experienced runners, beginners, Veterans in full camouflage uniform carrying backpacks and people running with giant American flags. It’s a surreal experience,” he said.
The participants, however, aren’t the only unique aspect of the Run that makes it different from other 9ks. “I think it’s a fantastic course. There are beautiful sites—and the opportunity to start on Yawkey Way is such a unique experience. You walk down Yawkey on a Red Sox game day, but it’s not the same.”
Weaver stated that the end of the race is just as awe-inspiring as the beginning. “The finish is really cool. You never get to see the Green Monster, the grass or the warning track up close like that.”
The minimum fundraising goal for participants is $750, but Weaver is hoping to reach at least triple that. As of July 12, Weaver has raised over $2,700 and in past years has raised as much as $3,100.
“People are always enthusiastically willing and happy to donate to such a good cause. I’ve never thought that the minimum was acceptable, it’s just a starting point.”
If you would like to support Weaver in his fundraising efforts, please visit his 2016 Run to Home Base fundraising page at http://donate.runtohomebase.org/2016RuntoHomeBase/AshWeaver2016.