Published March 21, 2019

BOSTON — North Reading native Erin Brooks will be running the 123rd Boston Marathon in memory of her father, James Brooks.

Erin Brooks is a member of the Samaritans Marathon Team who run to honor loved ones lost to suicide, while raising funds, hope and awareness for suicide prevention.

All proceeds generated from this year’s team will benefit Samaritans’ suicide prevention services. This includes their 24/7 Crisis Services phone and text Helpline, suicide prevention workshops for schools, businesses, and community groups, and SafePlace support groups for those who have lost someone to suicide.


“Each of our team members have been touched by suicide and are passionate about raising awareness and educating the public about this important issue,” said Executive Director of Samaritans Steve Mongeau. “The stigma and misinformation that surrounds the discussion of suicide and suicide prevention is an unfortunate reality. Our Marathon runners are performing a tremendous service to our organization and the community at large, and are helping to save lives.”

Brooks’ Crowdrise fundraising page can be found at and can be reached by clicking the “Erin Brooks” link.

The following is a note from Brooks about what running for her father and the Samaritans Team means to her:

“To my friends, family and supporters,

I am humbled and honored to run the 2019 Boston Marathon in honor of my dad on behalf of Team Samaritans.

In the United States, there are on average 123 suicides per day, the highest rate being white middle aged men. On May 23, 2016 my dad became one of them. My dad, who was a Massachusetts State Police officer for 25 years, was always going out of his way for others. He was smart, generous, loving and dedicated to providing for his family. These are, sometimes, the people you would least expect to take their own life and the people who most need our help.

As Sheryl Sandberg said in her book Option B, ‘It is the hard days — the times that challenge you to your very core — that will determine who you are. You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.’

Running the Boston Marathon is a mentally and physically challenging task that represents a deep desire to show others you can get through anything, no matter how difficult it seems. It is saying ‘yes’ to so much more than 26.2 miles. It’s the fundraising, the training, and most importantly the responsibility to represent an organization that has the power to change lives.

ERIN BROOKS, pictured here with her father Jim, has been training for the 123rd Boston Marathon since the ‘90s. Brooks is running the Marathon this year for the Samaritans Team in honor of her dad. (Courtesy Photo)

Suicide can be prevented. We need to break down the barrier of the stigma around suicide to create conversation and understanding, and ultimately save lives. Mental health can impact anyone. Anyone. Be there for others, have compassion and listen. Get behind organizations like Samaritans that helps thousands of people every day.

Please consider donating to help me reach my goal of $26,200 for Samaritans. Every dollar counts and is very much appreciated!”

This is the 12th consecutive year that Samaritans has received bib numbers for their Marathon Team. The donation was made to help Samaritans generate awareness about the issue of suicide, educate the public about suicide prevention, and raise much-needed funds.

Samaritans will once again be participating as a non-profit partner in the John Hancock Non-Profit Marathon Program. Each year, John Hancock donates guaranteed entries to select nonprofits which use these entries to recruit individual runners to raise money for their cause.

In 2018, John Hancock provided more than 1,000 bibs to nonprofit runners who raised more than $13.1 million for local organizations. For over 30 years, John Hancock has been the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon.

About the Samaritans

For over 40 years, Samaritans, Inc. 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. For more information about Samaritans, please visit or contact Samaritans’ business office at 617-536-2460 or