Jun 06, 2014 Tami Scott Uncategorized
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.
“There’s a lot of people. No one wants their loved ones to be forgotten,” Don said. “Going to the walk shows how much people care [when they] take the time to do that.”
Susan said she admires Schoeneck, who also knows what it’s like to lose a child. She lost her daughter, Mary, in a car accident more than 35 years ago.
“To see what positive she has done out of the death of her daughter makes me realize that that’s what we need to focus on,” she said. “[Therese] is a tremendous inspiration.”
To register in advance for this Sunday’s run/walk, go to getentered.com. Same day registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The cost is $35 per person (children ages 12 and under are free) and includes a tech T-shirt (first 500 paid registrants), refreshments, entertainment, children’s activities and an awards ceremony at the conclusion of the race.
To make a donation to Hope, make checks payable to Hope for Bereaved, Inc. and mail to 4500 Onondaga Blvd., Syracuse, NY 13219. Hope also accepts credit cards. Contributions are tax-deductible. Memorial opportunities are also available. For more information, visit hopeforbereaved.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 475-4673.
Therese Schoeneck founded HOPE for Bereaved in 1978 after the death of her daughter, Mary, in a car accident. At the time, Central New York did not have a support group available for parents dealing with the death of a child. Determined that something positive would come from Mary’s death, she formed a bereaved parents’ support group. Eventually, her efforts blossomed into the creation of Hope for Bereaved, Inc.-a not-for-profit community organization that is dedicated to providing its support groups and core services free-of-charge to grieving children, adults and families in the community. Hope also offers grief workshops for daycare providers and on-site bereavement support for employers dealing with grief in the workplace. Families, friends, businesses and healthcare professionals turn to Hope for training, guidance and resources. Hope’s services and resources are used locally, nationally and internationally.