More than $27,000 was raised to combat domestic violence through the annual Sabrina Patterson Memorial Marathon in Sackville.
SACKVILLE, N.B. – This year’s memorial marathon in honour of Sabrina Patterson exceeded all expectations once again, bringing in more than $27,000 in the fight against domestic violence.
This year’s total surpassed last year’s numbers, which was just over $22,000, and has nearly doubled the amount raised in the first year of the event, started in 2011.
“Sabrina has become a symbol for the fight against domestic violence and that is exactly what we wanted to see happen,” said Denise Murphy, Sabrina’s sister. “She will never be forgotten. But she won’t only be remembered as a symbol, she will also be remembered as the caring person she was.”
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.
Proceeds from the event are now 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.
“We had so many people tell us how wonderful the event was, how well organized and just how much fun they had, and that they can’t wait to come back next year, which means . . . it looks like there will be a fifth annual Sabrina Patterson Memorial Fundraiser,” said Murphy.
She said this year’s marathon drew in 180 registrants this year, the highest number of participants to date.
“I am sure the sunny weather helped us out this year but also we reached out to different people this year as well,” she said. “We had a strong showing of the Amherst Striders running group, which was awesome to see. We even had a couple of avid marathon runners come all the way from Kentville to participate in the event because they saw it on one of the run sites.”
This year’s event also saw the event expanded to include another family – the McKeigans – who also know the pain of losing someone to domestic violence.
“Their loved one Paula McKeigan was also a victim of domestic violence, so they are also taking comfort in helping other women through this event,” said Murphy. “It is sad to know how many women out there live with abuse, and how many are hurt and even killed by the person that is supposed to protect them, their partner.”
Murphy said she hopes the support from the community and surrounding communities continues each year in order to ensure they can continue this event “as it truly is an important one.”
And although it takes a significant amount of time and effort by a lot of volunteers to put together this event each year, she said the payback is always greater than all the work involved.
“In the end, when we talk to the people who come out to support us, when we tally up our number at the end of the day and when the day is over and we go to visit Sabrina’s grave to celebrate the day with her, well…it’s totally worth it.”