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Dear Friends,

Thanks for visiting my Hot Chocolate Run fundraising page!

On December 7, I'm participating in the 11th Annual Hot Chocolate Run This great event raises funds for Safe Passage, the organization addressing domestic violence in Hampshire County, here in Western Massachusetts where I live with my family.

Please support this effort by making a donation to support Safe Passage’s important work. Safe Passage relies on people like you and me to bring hope, safety, and justice to women and families. If you would be willing to hear a little bit more about why IO am running this year, with my seven year old son Olin, and why my team is called "Meghan Lives" please through this and read on at the bottom of this note.

Here are some ways Safe Passage will put your gift to work:

$30: Resources, support and hope for a woman calling the 24-hour hotline

$55: A survivor's first counseling session. For many of Safe Passage's clients, this is the first time they've felt heard. It's the first time in years that they've felt hopeful.

$120: A drop-in support group session for survivors of domestic violence

$225: Information, advice and support for a survivor facing a divorce or custody dispute

$500: Healing counseling for a child who has witnessed violence

All contributions are tax-deductible, and you’ll receive an emailed receipt immediately after you donate.

 Thank you for considering supporting this effort. I participated in very few fundraising activities and do so with trepidation, but having worked in social work in this area for a decade and being closely connected with this organization, I am convinced of the worthiness of this event.

 Thank you, and blessings on the onset of winter and the coming return of the light!

_____________________________

No, for why I am running this year, and why my team is called "Meghan Lives".

[And in case you were wondering, I don’t really consider the team to be just those of us who are running--Olin and me. :) I am hoping the team will be whoever will respond to this story, and/or can make a spirited donation, amount not important, and/or even come cheer us on in Northampton on December seventh. ]

In high school and beyond, I had a very special mentor, who was one of the people who set the seeds of my future career in trying to reach out to the margins of society to meet, be enriched, changed, and transformed by the people we meet there. I went three times with Eileen and friends to Eastern Kentucky, where she led groups of us every year to work with children and communities living in one of the poorest counties there. I know I don’t have time to tell stories about Eileen and our times together, but most of you know who she was to me and the influence she had in my life. The year before I and many friends left for college, Eileen met and married my dear friend and mentor Rich Beebe, and in 1992 they had a daughter Meghan...

In 2007, as it happened the very same day I went into the spiritual to begin my labor for my son Olin, our dear Eileen left this world after a long and exceptionally courageous, gritty, and graceful battle with cancer. She was 48 years old.

In addition to mourning the loss of his beloved wife and raising Meghan, Rich carried on much of the work in Eastern Kentucky and all over the country through his ability to connect, his nurturing spirit and his philosophical wisdom. However, just  under a year ago, Meghan herself left this world at age 21 after being killed in a hit-and-run accident—while a pedestrian—on December 28th, 2013…

Earlier that same month, Meghan had run in the hot chocolate run. Having finished her BA credits at UMASS just days before, she was passionately committed to social justice in all forms, working as an intern in the Hampshire County Jail/House of Correction and volunteering more than 1000 hours as a hotline Counselor for the Center for Women in Community and with a number of other agencies confronting all forms of injustice. She had a particular calling to work against domestic violence—she was both carrying on the family tradition and forging new paths—which made the hot chocolate run particularly significant.

It is beyond the scope of this letter to say much more about the egregiousness of this tragic event. The untimely deaths of both Eileen and Meghan continue to challenge, disturb, and deepen whatever special connection it is that gives life it meaning for me; that is my faith. However, I feel I am truly witnessing Meghan’s resurrection through the impenetrable and remarkable wisdom—made of infinite grief—of what Meghan has left, her father Rich in particular. Rich has merged as a prophet, truly turning ideas of death on their head, truly helping us to see that Meghan lives; for in death the truth about one’s life can authentically unfold. This is why I am calling this team “Meghan Lives,” for her father has said that, and charged us to live fully and courageously, so that she may live on.

 What a perfect opportunity for me to do this in some tiny way—to run in the race that was one of the countless, but last, valuable things that Megan did in her life.

I will post more of Rich’s writings so you can learn more about Meghan. In the meantime, thanks for reading this and being part of this new sort of life that is being born, albeit from one that was taken tragically, precipitously, and nonsensically. There is not a reason for everything in this dangerous universe. But there is, I must believe, things that can be done with everything. Rich is teaching me that.

With love and Gratitude

Matilda


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Safe Passage is a 501 (c) (3) EIN: 04-2690131 nonprofit organization

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