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#RunningAsOne

My name is Angela Wiese and I run in memory of the incredible lives my sons lived. This is the story of how our family has loved, grieved, and found hope in a community moving with purpose. 

In 1995 I became a mother to a beautiful son named Mason. Three years later his perfect little brother Ethan arrived. And 10 years after that, our sweet Erin completed the family! Mason encouraged others with his passion for weightlifting while Ethan excelled on the lacrosse field. Both worked incredibly hard and showed such strength in their respective physical activities, but nothing could compare to the softness in their hearts when it came to loving their little sister. 

After completing high school in 2014 Mason took some time off before joining the Navy Reserves. After graduating from bootcamp, he prepared himself to take on more advanced military training. We loved watching him follow this opportunity!  

But less than a year later, Mason unexpectedly took his own life. He was just 19. His death rocked our entire family and community. We grappled with the “why” and tried to move through life with a sense of purpose, keeping up with family traditions such as holidays, vacations and daily routines. It was so very difficult reconciling this tragic loss, but with counseling and the love of so many, we pressed on in Mason’s memory. 

What came next was unthinkable. In the Spring of 2017, just one month shy of his high school graduation, Ethan, too, died by suicide. Still numb from Mason’s death, I wondered how I would even begin to process the complexity of this unimaginable grief. I’m fortunate to have had a special bond with my mother and siblings, which only strengthened during this time. We recognized the ripple effect suicide could have on a family and knew we needed to do something about it. Together with the help of bereavement professionals, we began to plant seeds of change in our family and in the community, having honest conversations about suicide and those we have lost.  

In the years since losing my sweet boys, I’ve found that with help, pain can be turned into purpose, and that’s why The Brothers’ Run Foundation, a nonprofit organization, was created. Our goal is to raise funding for the much-needed implementation of suicide prevention efforts within our schools and in the community. Additionally, these funds support mental health professionals who care for suicide bereaved families. While we have experienced some challenges along the way, we remain driven by the need to provide these critical services in our community.

On December 30, 2021, our family was shaken, yet again. My sister Erin and her husband Jordan lost their 13-year-old daughter, Myra, to suicide. Myra was an incredible volleyball player and could solve a Rubik’s cube in record time. She loved books, animals, and silly inside jokes with her cousins. She had a loving family and bright future ahead of her. Immediately we asked ourselves, “how could this have happened?” Now more than ever, it is clear that we need to provide safer spaces for our children to talk about their thoughts, feelings, and emotions. 

We’ve been given a path to move forward with great intention. Mason, Ethan and Myra left a legacy of compassion and hope for us to carry on. We’re doing just that by running as one in our community, not only for them, but for anyone struggling with mental health issues and suicidal ideation. 

Since starting our efforts in 2019, The Brothers’ Run Foundation has raised $160,000 to put towards suicide prevention education within our community. This awareness has played a vital role in creating safe spaces to have hard but necessary conversations about mental health. The community response has been profound, as folks continue to rally around this mission. And more personally, I have learned that post traumatic growth is possible. It doesn’t take much to be part of the change. Your path is right in front of you; just take that first step. You are never alone.

Will you join me at our next run?

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