Somerville runner to take on Heartbreak Hill in memory of her brother

Carrie with her family and friends participating in Samaritans 5K in memory of her brother
Carrie with her family and friends participating in Samaritans 5K in memory of her brother
Carrie Asselin, a Somerville resident, will run in the 118th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 21, 2014. By running, Carrie will help Samaritans, a local suicide prevention organization, raise awareness and much needed funds for its life-saving services.

Carrie is one of 24 people who are running the distance for suicide prevention for Samaritans. Carrie lost her only brother Nathaniel to suicide in April of 2011, and connected with Samaritans through their Grief Support Services. Carrie grew up in Cheyney, PA and currently resides in Somerville with her python, Kahlua. She recently moved to Somerville after her apartment in Cambridge was involved in a fire that began in a neighboring building. She moved to Boston in June of 2012 to pursue neuroscience research, and is currently a research technician at an MGH lab that studies the genetics and functional biology of Alzheimer’s disease. In her free time, Carrie enjoys playing old video games, baking goodies for her coworkers and roommates, painting birds, and running around the beautiful city of Boston. This will be her first marathon, and she is honored to support such an important cause.

The 2014 Boston Marathon John Hancock Non-Profit Program graciously donated 13 official race entries to Samaritans, a suicide prevention organization that has been serving the Greater Boston and MetroWest area for 40 years. They will be joining nine Samaritans’ runners who are returning to complete the race they were unable to finish due to the Boston Marathon bombings last year, as well as the first two qualified runners to make the decision to run on Samaritans’ behalf.

Samaritans saw an increase in people applying to them for a number for this year’s Boston Marathon and is fielding its largest team ever. Carrie was chosen to receive a number through the John Hancock Non-Profit Program and has set a fundraising goal of $10,000. With Carrie’s help, the 2014 Samaritans Marathon Team has already raised over $120,000 and the goal is to exceed $150,000.

Carrie said: “I am incredibly excited to be running the 2014 Boston Marathon, both in memory of my brother Nathaniel and to raise money for Samaritans. Nathaniel took his life on April 15th, 2011 after a 13-year struggle with severe Body Dysmorphic Disorder, an OCD-spectrum disorder that is characterized by intense preoccupation with a perceived defect in one's physical appearance. Despite the fact that he sought the best treatment available, his illness slowly robbed him of the freedom and life opportunities that we all take for granted.

“Each day was a testament to his strength of spirit,” she added. “He quietly shouldered his burden with incredible endurance. A brilliant student and gifted teacher, he greatly touched the lives of those around him with his humor, wisdom, and unfailing loyalty. He was my closest companion, and the foundation of my personality was built upon our relationship. I miss him constantly.”

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 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 to have received marathon numbers from John Hancock.”

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 Carrie and Samaritans Marathon Team, please visit:


For updates on Carrie's training and fundraising progress go to:


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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