Support TAF’s Inspiring Athletes

Running for Brain Health

The Avielle Foundation is fortunate to have such amazing grass-roots support — From children to small business owners, parents, teachers, and kindhearted visionaries of all makes and models who find the most creative ways to fund-raise and support the Foundation.  Today I would like to introduce you to a few of our athletes and hope you will be inspired by their commitment to helping others and bringing both awareness and funding to brain health research to prevent violence.  I’ll introduce you to two marathon runners, Claudia and Haptom, and one triathlete, Suzanne.  Support these athletes on our donation page by checking the box “I would like to designate this donation to a specific fund” and selecting the name of the individual athlete you find inspiring.

Claudia Sandoval was a resident of Sandy Hook, CT for more than 5 years before relocating with her family to Georgia in 2013.   Her Claudia Sandovaldaughters attended Sandy Hook Elementary and were in the school during the December 14th tragedy.  Like many of us, Claudia, was heartbroken by the horrors of that day.  Although no longer in the region, her heart remains with the community.  Claudia is running the 2014 New York City Marathon raising contributions for the Avielle Foundation. She and her husband both have a passion for science.  Claudia was an equine veterinarian working in Newtown, CT and her husband, Ian Berke, was a post-doctoral fellow at Yale University.  As a veterinarian, she is a strong believer in the power of science to enhance our understanding of brain health to help prevent these tragedies.  “Running each mile in memory of the 26 precious lives lost that day will get me to the finish line, but raising contributions for the Avielle Foundation, will help many others prevent violence through research and community education.” Please help support Claudia through her 26 mile journey.

Habtom (1)My name is Habtom Habte. I am a research scientist at Boehringer Ingelheim in Ridgefield, CT. I was born far away from Connecticut, in the country of Eritrea in East Africa.  I am an avid runner and have done a couple of half and full marathons including the 2014 Boston marathon.  I am currently trying to raise funds for the New York marathon on 11/02/2014 in support of the Avielle Foundation that is founded to honor Avielle Rose Richman, one of 26 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims of December 14th, 2012. The objective of the foundation is to raise awareness and stop a senseless tragedy such as this from happening to any community through funding brain science research, education, and community engagement.  Although no deeds will equal their loss this is a great cause that I would like to support with your help. I greatly appreciate your help to raise funds in support of my run for the Avielle foundation.

20K I Run from StigmaMy name is Susanne Navas.  I ran yesterday’s 20k, the Stratton Faxon New Haven Road Race, in honor of those who struggle with depression and other manifestations of brain illness.  During the 12.4 miles my focus was on my cousin who took her life after struggling with depression, and on her husband and children who are now left to carry on with life. I thought of my other cousin, her sister, who is now left to continue life without her sister but who is also making arrangements for a funeral for my uncle, who died of cancer last week – which was (I believe) sped up by grief at losing his daughter (his cancer was detected a couple of days after her sudden death). My focus was on the millions who are struggling in silence with different degrees of brain illness, and on the millions who are in some way touched by their struggles. I thought of Jeremy and Jennifer, who lost their daughter Avielle in the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, and who have made it their mission to understand brain illness through the Avielle Foundation.  As I ran across the hot, humid New Haven streets, I felt impervious to the oppressive heat as I pictured Avielle’s face and felt her parents’ strength.  I pictured a world where through scientific advances, authentic relationship building, and collective spirituality, brain health is no longer a source of shame and silent suffering.  Where we may support our community members with love, not fear. In spite of not having engaged in any structured training for yesterday’s run (in fact, I just remembered last week I had signed up for it), I rather easily finished the 20k in 1:48:23, with a 8:48 pace.  I finished 20th in my division (F 40-44), 586 overall (out of 1,991 finishers).  I hope that the feeling of peace and joy that carried me to the finish line in some way lifted up someone who needs the lift right now. Next month I will be doing the Marine Corps Marathon and my big goal is the Ironman Sweden in Aug, 2015. I run in an effort to bring attention to the importance of acknowledging brain health — I run for love, and run from stigma.

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