The Marine Corps Marathon and Suicide Prevention

Every year, thousands of runners descend upon Washington, DC to test the limits of their endurance at the Marine Corps Marathon. According to its website, “the mission of the Marine Corps Marathon is to promote physical fitness, generate community goodwill and showcase the organizational skills of the United States Marine Corps.” Due to the connection to the families of those who serve, veterans, and others, the Marine Corps Marathon holds a special place in the heart of the Arredondo Family Foundation.

The Arredondo Family Foundation was established by Carlos and Mélida Arredondo, who lost their son Alex, a U.S. Marine, in the war in Iraq and later lost their son Brian to suicide. Carlos and Mélida Arredondo became internationally famous in 2013 when Carlos helped save the life of Jeff Bauman in the immediate moments after the Boston Marathon tragedy. But their story – and the work they are doing to support the families of the fallen – began before the Marathon bombing. They have dedicated themselves to movements and causes that embolden people and give voices to those who cannot speak for themselves.

Based in Dorchester, Massachusetts, the Arredondo Family Foundation is committed to empowering military families. Their mission is to empower military families in the prevention of military related suicides and to provide assistance through education, financial relief and support services.

This past April, seven runners participated in the Boston Marathon to raise money for the Foundation’s work to train military families and friends to understand the mental health crisis and suicide prevention techniques among their active duty service members, veterans and military family members in order to reduce the number of military-related suicides; provide emergency fund assistance to military families who have experienced a suicide; and provide educational assistance to military siblings who seek a college education. Now the Foundation is seeking to do the same for this year’s Marine Corps Marathon.

This year’s Marine Corps Marathon will take place on October 22. The Foundation is also recruiting runners for the Marine Corps Marathon’s 10K race which takes place the same day. If you or anyone you know is interested in running in this race on behalf of the Arredondo Family Foundation, please contact Rachel Lavoie at (315) 569-7623.

“We appreciate so much those who support the work we do helping the families of the fallen who area dealing with mental health crises,” said Mélida Arredondo, the foundation’s executive director.  “The suicide rate in military families is higher than it is among the rest of the population, and we are doing everything in our power to promote effective prevention strategies. Those who run on our behalf are an important part of that work.”