Natasha Snapper on ‘Why I run for Adolescent Wellness!’

“I am excited to announce that I am taking on the challenge of the Boston Marathon this upcoming April. Since I started my sophomore year of high school, running the Boston Marathon has always been a dream of mine. As many of you probably know, in order to run Boston, you either have to qualify, or apply to raise money for a charity. Because I was sure that my 9:30 average half-marathon mileage pace probably wouldn’t qualify, I knew that I was going to fundraise. One thing that I knew, however, is that if I was going to take on the challenge of raising a large amount of money for a charity, I wanted it to be a charity that I felt passionate about. And that’s where Adolescent Wellness Inc. (AWI) comes into play. When I researched charities that were active in Wellesley, I stumbled across AWI whose mission is for children “to get through adolescence without developing symptoms of anxiety and depression”. Right when I saw those words, I knew that AWI was the charity that I wanted to devote my time, effort, and training towards. Spreading awareness about the importance of mental health has always been something that is important to me. Being personally affected and seeing my friends struggle with anxiety and depression as early as middle school, I realized that this importance of taking care of not only your physical state, but also your mental state, is definitely underemphasized.

Specifically, I am running in honor of Nicholas Leonhardt, one of my high school classmates who passed away this past October. Before his death, Nick was working at Three Points Center in Utah where he felt he could share and help others with anxiety and depression. I will always remember the memories shared with Nick, including going to the Wellesley Pancake Festival and playing foosball in my basement together. Nick’s passing breaks my heart and underlines the reasons why I chose to run for Adolescent Wellness specifically. I would love to make a difference that could help spread awareness about these important issues in our local communities.

Research shows that if you teach healthy coping skills to 22 youth, it prevents 1 case of severe depression. This is a theme for my fundraising: it is my goal to raise 22 thousand dollars for Adolescent Wellness. Together we can raise money to save one life, or even prevent one case of mental illness, and I need your help to make that difference”

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