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Cheryl Chiodi is running with the Herren Project for her late niece

"Why am I running? For my niece, Jessica. I am running because I have to believe that her death was not in vain."

In our “Why I’m Running” series, Boston Marathon runners share what’s inspiring them to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boston. If you’re running the marathon, you can share your story here.

Name: Cheryl Chiodi
Age: 52
From: Bridgewater

Why am I running? For my niece, Jessica. I am running because I have to believe that her death was not in vain. That her battle with addiction was not lost but, through her, others may be helped. I am running to express my deepest gratitude to all of the people in the recovery field who worked passionately to help Jessica. Your job has many heartbreaks, but true joy as well.

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I thought marathons were a “one and done” thing for me. I ran Manchester, New Hampshire in 2018 and it was an amazing experience! One year later, I was diagnosed with cancer, and after surgery and radiation, struggled to run even 3 miles. I was sure my marathon days were over. Well, I have been presented with the opportunity to run in the 125th Boston Marathon as part of the Herren Project’s team. The work they do to end the stigma of addiction is very close to my heart, as I lost my beautiful niece to an overdose on May 16, 2014. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t miss her terribly.

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I am comforted by the fact that there are tremendous organizations like the Herren Project available so that other families can experience the joy of recovery, rather than the pain of losing someone they love to addiction. My hope is that the money we raise together will help the Herren Project continue to do their amazing work helping people find a life of recovery by providing free resources and support for the treatment, recovery, and prevention of substance use disorder, and empowering people to cope with life’s challenges substance-free.

Editor’s note: This entry may have been lightly edited for clarity or grammar.

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