For Karen Belliveau from Worcester, Massachusetts, this year’s Run to Home Base presented by New Balance on July 28th at Fenway will be her sixth “race to heal the invisible wounds”. Since 2012, Belliveau has participated and finished the event every year, raising money to support Home Base’s mission to help Veterans, Service Members, and their Families heal from the invisible wounds of war through world-class clinical care, wellness, and education.
Her motivation to participate is a close one to heart. Belliveau’s family military heritage extends all the way back to WWII with cousins, uncles, father having served in the Military. Her son, too, is a U.S. Marine Corps. Veteran, currently serving in the Massachusetts National Guard. As a Marine, he was deployed to Afghanistan and came back home three years ago. But it was upon his return that Belliveau noticed a change in his character and became concerned about his behavior and well-being. To Belliveau, it was clear that her son was displaying some signs of the invisible wounds of war she had read and heard so much about. Her son also realized how different life was back at home.
It was during this time that Karen first learned about Home Base’s clinical care and educational services for Veterans and their Families on how to overcome the invisible wounds, such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury – and has supported the program ever since her first run in 2013. “The opening ceremony was so overwhelmingly emotional – there was no way anyone wasn’t inspired to hit the pavement and cross that home plate. Ever since, the Run to Home Base has been an annual tradition for my daughter, Jodi, and me. Every year we make this a family event.”
In addition to her familial military connection, Belliveau is as proud and standing member of the Blue Star Mothers Central Massachusetts Chapter 3, an organization of mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, foster mothers and female legal guardians who have children serving in the military, guard or reserves, and children who are Veterans She gives her chapter members deepest thanks for their support to her when her son returned home from his deployment. It was her “lady friends” she says that helped her get her through the tough times.
“I think it’s important for people to not give up on their loved ones. Whether external or internal, we know that wounds need to be tended to – they don’t just fix themselves,” Belliveau said. She remains optimistic that her fundraising efforts will enable even more Veterans, Service Members and their Families who need help to make that phone call to Home Base and get the support they need. “After all, they deserve it and have earned it for their service to their country,” she adds.
To donate to Karen Belliveau’s fundraising efforts, please visit www.homebase.org/Belliveau. Belliveau and her daughter, Jodi will also host their 2nd annual Run to Home Base fundraiser on Saturday, June 16, 2018, at the American Legion, Cherry Valley Post 443, 167 Main Street, Leicester MA, from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. Tickets will be $15 at the door.
This year’s Run to Home Base will pay a special tribute to Families of the Fallen to include those whose family member died in service, and those who lost a loved one post-service by suicide. If you are a family member of a Service Member or Veteran who has made the ultimate sacrifice either in service or as a result of his/her service, we invite you to join us for these special events and allow the community to honor you and your family. Please visit www.homebase.org/familiesofthefallen.