Family, friends organizing annual Sabrina Patterson Memorial Marathon

Katie Tower
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Event raises funds, awareness for women’s shelter

Friends and family of Sabrina Patterson are holding their annual memorial marathon in May.

Participants in last year’s Sabrina Patterson Memorial Marathon in Sackville, N.B. release balloons into the air prior to embarking on the run/walk fundraiser.

SACKVILLE, N.B. – If they can help save even one life, then they will feel they’ve achieved their goal.

Family and friends of Sabrina Patterson are once again organizing their annual memorial marathon event in her honour this year, as they continue their efforts to increase education and awareness about domestic violence.

Denise Murphy, Sabrina’s sister, said domestic abuse is an epidemic affecting thousands of women, with many sadly ending up with the same fate as Sabrina.

“It still happens every day,” said Murphy. “And we want to help other people not fall into the same trap. We want them to know there is help out there. There are other avenues, places for them to turn. We want to help get them out of that situation.”

Sabrina, a 25-year-old mother of two, was brutally murdered in Oct. 2010 by her former boyfriend Fred Prosser. Prosser was charged with her death in Dec. 2012, sentenced to a life in prison for first-degree murder and sexual assault.

In the months following her death, Sabrina’s friends and family, who were looking for a way to channel their grief and anger, began putting together the first annual Sabrina Patterson Memorial Fundraiser Marathon. Nearly $14,000 was brought in that first year for Crossroads for Women Inc., a women’s shelter serving southeast New Brunswick.

Now, several years later, preparations are once again in full swing for the fourth annual event, which will be held on Saturday, May 31.

The event will kick off in the morning with the run/walk fundraiser (5, 11, 21 or 42K) and will continue throughout the day with a variety of family-friendly activities at the Tantramar civic centre, with proceeds being shared between Crossroads and a trust fund for Sabrina’s two young children, as well as two $1,000 bursaries for graduating students at Tantramar Regional High School and $1,000 for Christmas sponsorships/sports for local children. On tap at the civic centre will be live entertainment, a barbecue, a silent auction, bake sale, raffle tickets and children’s activities.

Last year, the Sabrina Patterson Memorial Marathon raised just over $20,000 and organizers are aiming their sights even higher this year.

Murphy said the organizing committee has several other events planned in the weeks leading up to the marathon to help them reach their $25,000 goal. A St. Patrick’s Day bash at Uncle Larry’s, featuring drink specials and prizes, will be held this Saturday, March 15, with doors opening at 7 p.m. A pub night in Amherst is also being planned for sometime in April as well as a grocery bagging day and a car wash. A quilt raffle is also under way.

And as they have for the past three years, the organizers are again looking for support from the local businesses in terms of donations of items for the auction, barbecue, or cash sponsorships to help cover costs.

“It’s a lot of work but it’s important,” said Murphy.

To register for the walk/run or for more information on the event, check out the website at Participants will receive a free t-shirt with their registration fee and are also asked to collect pledges for the run.

Murphy said the marathon portion of the event has started to become a popular draw for those in the running circuit throughout the Maritimes.

“They know it’s coming and they plan for it,” she said.

She encourages interested participants to start training now for the event and to get their registrations in, with the deadline set for May 17. Routes are posted on the site.

Organizations: Tantramar Regional High School

Geographic location: New Brunswick, Tantramar, Amherst

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