When Donald and Susan Reason joined other walkers in Hope for Bereaved’s annual event last year, only five months had passed since their youngest child, Benjamin, 22, had died. About 50 friends and family members gathered to walk in his memory.
“Last year was still really raw,” said Susan, who learned about Hope through two friends who had attended support groups in the past. “We started going [to meetings] about two months after we lost our son.”
Hope for Bereaved, a Syracuse-based not-for-profit organization, is dedicated to providing support and hope to thousands of grieving children, adults and families each year by offering counseling, support groups, a telephone helpline and newsletter all free-of-charge to the bereaved.
“The biggest thing [Hope] does is show you’re not [alone],” Susan said.
“They’re really the only ones who can relate,” Don said about other grieving parents they’ve met at the meetings.
At one of the first sessions, Susan recalled a girl who said she’d been attending for four years.
“I couldn’t imagine that, but now I can,” she said.
Sixteen months after Benjamin’s death, the Reasons still continue to go. “It’s not because we’re not getting better. It’s because there’s so much camaraderie that we feel there … Sometimes, we’re helping other people.”
Beginning at 9 a.m. on Sunday, June 8, Hope for Bereaved will hold its Fourth Annual Remembrance 8k Run/3k Walk, which begins at Marcellus High School, 1 Mustang Hill in Marcellus. In its first year, the event attracted more than 150 people and raised more than $4,400.
“We were thrilled with our first race,” said Hope founder Therese Schoeneck. “Not only was it an important fundraiser, it raised awareness throughout our local communities to Hope’s services.”
The fundraiser has grown in numbers with each year and the Reasons plan to participate again.