The Massachusetts Department of Health reported on February 14, 2018 that opioids were confirmed as the cause of 1501 deaths and suspected in 433 to 518 deaths for a best estimate of 1,977 for the total year, 2017. The good news is that it is the first year over year decrease in the number of heroin deaths in seven years. The decrease, while a modest 8.3%, represents 173 lives saved. The bad news is that on average, in the state of Massachusetts, more than 5 people die from an opioid overdose each day.
The purpose of our Mother’s Day Run is to raise money to help fund education programs for local kids about the dangers of opioids and other substances.
Our first Nancy's Mother's Day Run Walk,held in 2016, was a success and all of the profits and contributions, in excess of $10,000 were donated to "Healthy Chelmsford". Funds were used for a variety of worthwhile drug awareness activities including the Candlelight Vigil and the piloting of a program for middle school students to prepare them to make healthy choices.
In 2017 we committed to donating $5000 at the race but actually raised $7500, down a bit from 2016 due to the lousy weather that we had on Mother's Day, which resulted in virtually no "same day" registrations. This money again went to Healthy Chelmsford and was used among other things to fund an expansion of the middle school educational program that was piloted in 2016. In 2017 this "Healthy Futures" program was offered to every middle school student.
In 2018 we raised approximately $9000 and again all was donated to Healthy Chelmsford. Due to the timing of our donation, we have not received any feedback on specific programs funded but we trust Healthy Chelmsford to spend the money wisely.
With the current Opioid Crisis, Healthy Chelmsford is dedicated to raising awareness, providing education, and implementing prevention efforts by working collaboratively with the schools and with other community partners.
We would love to expand our program to neighboring communities. Our largest obstacle is the amount of money raised. Our priority remains to fund an impactful program in Chelmsford before expanding.
We are so grateful to the Chelmsford Elks Lodge which has adopted our event and provides, not only great support, but also the independent control of funds and assure that the funds are used for the cause " Opioid Awareness". The Elks have the largest volunteer drug awareness program in the USA and it is one of two charitable focus areas of Elks Lodges, the other being supporting our US Veterans. This year the Elks Drug Awareness theme is "What Heroes Do?". In honor of our local heroes, who are really on the front line of the Opioid crisis in this country, we have added a special race category for Police Officers, Fire Fighters and EMT's. We will provide first, second and third place awards.
And we again thank the Greater Lowell Road Runners for their support of our event from the initial idea to on-going advise and super participation from members.
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