Danvers, MA (March 29, 2010) – Back in 1975, two-year-old Danvers native Charity Collier and her mother had to go all the way to Denver, Colorado to find a safe haven from Charity’s abusive father. There were few other options for Danvers residents at the time. People fleeing domestic violence could seek shelter with family or with friends. Charity’s father had already threatened Charity’s grandparents. The only friend far enough away was in Denver.
Next month, 38-year-old Charity Collier will be making sure that people fleeing domestic violence do have a better option when she runs her first Boston Marathon to support RESPOND, Inc., a Somerville-based nonprofit that provides emergency shelter and support services to survivors of domestic violence from all over Greater Boston.
‘When I learned about RESPOND’s Marathon team I knew I had to do it. I knew the training would be hard on my mind and body, but by raising money for RESPOND I would be helping women like my mother and children like me to get out of their situations. If organizations like RESPOND had been around when my mother was young, perhaps she would not have had to leave her family and support system. We would not have had to go hungry.’
‘Working with fellow Danvers residents made the call for action all the more touching,’ says Charity referring to RESPOND Executive Director, Jessica C. Brayden and Controller, Darcie DeLuca, both Danvers natives and Danvers High School Graduates.
As a member of RESPOND’s Marathon team, Charity has pledged to raise at least $3,000 for RESPOND. ‘This funding’, says Brayden, ‘is a key to our fundraising for the year. All of the money raised will support our 21-bed emergency shelter, 24-hour hotline and supports that include everything from helping survivors to replace the clothing and toiletries they left behind, to connecting them with legal aid, job training, employment, health care and permanent housing.’ All services are available free of charge, in four languages, to anyone regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or economic status.
Charity is now focused on fundraising for RESPOND and training as hard as she can. “Most of my friends don’t know what happened to my mom and me so many years ago but I want to change that now. My mom was able to return to Danvers, make a happy second marriage and give me a great life. The story can’t end happily for other people, though, if we don’t talk about domestic violence and support efforts to help survivors.’
Charity kicked off her fundraising effort last Sunday with a pizza party and raffle at Supino’s Restaurant in Danvers. Now she’s appealing personally to everyone she meets. ‘My training is going fabulously. I am so amazed and grateful that my body allows me to push it to the limits. The hardest part for me is getting up early and out the door for the long runs. Once I am out there, I just keep going, one foot in front of the other. I am truly honored and proud to be doing this.’