Herren Project is honored to introduce our 2019 Boston Marathon team.  Read their personal stories on how they spread hope and awareness about the disease of addiction.

Calib Daniloff

Caleb Daniloff
Cambridge, MA

As a former alcoholic, running has played a large role in my health and sobriety, helping to deflate my anxiety and depression, and supplying me with paths to clarity and self-empowerment. As a writer, the connection between fitness and recovery is a major topic, the subject of a memoir and many articles and essays.

But a few years back when my daughter found herself in the grips of addiction, my running started to collapse, my mind darkened by despair and rage. Train for a race? Forget it. My wife and I were living on a razor’s edge, doing all we could to climb out of an agonizing moment that was stuck on repeat. Despite years of sobriety, I was not entirely prepared to handle a substance use disorder in my own family. After various mistakes and missteps, extended bouts of guilt and shame, and an insanity-inducing obsession with fixing the situation, we managed to start changing how we reacted. We got educated and got support. And as we changed, our daughter was able to start changing.

I’m happy to report that our daughter is almost seven months sober and fully engaged in her recovery. While it’s still one day at a time for her, and for us, we couldn’t be prouder of the hard work she has put in, the life she is reclaiming, the future she is building. While being the loved one of someone struggling with addiction can often seem bleak and beyond heartbreaking, there is hope, there is light. I know this first hand. And that’s why I’m running this year’s Boston Marathon for the Herren Project, which understands addiction is a family disease and provides services to both the user and people closest to them. It’s an amazing feeling to once again be able to look into the future, to see beyond the immediate moment, to look into your kid’s eyes and see the gleam. I want that for every family member out there, more than anything.

Julie and Andy Rogers

Andy & Julie Rogers
Port Orchard, WA

Running the Boston Marathon for Herren Project as a couple symbolizes the life that we have chosen together in Recovery: Love, Hope, Connection, Sacrifice & Service. Our past and our families are littered with the wreckage that is left in the wake of generations of struggle with addiction. Health issues, family turmoil, divorce, overdose, jail, and death. We, and many other family members, have found our path to sobriety. We are living proof that everything changes in recovery.

Recovery and Running are two threads that weave through our relationship and life. Our very first run together was in Boston along the Charles River in 2014. We had grown up together, attended the same schools, but were complete strangers. We had never really talked to each other until 2014 and it was an article about recovery that brought us together. Running the Boston Marathon for the Herren Project brings us full circle along our Heroes Journey.

As Ambassadors, we could not be me more grateful to have the opportunity to share our experience, strength, and hope. Herren Project has helped thousands of families like ours and knowing that the funds we are raising will have such an impact inspires us to do more. We have been given a gift and it is a privilege to share it with others. Support ~ Recover ~ Overcome

Katelyn Rota

Katelyn Rota
Holbrook, MA

Up until 10 months ago, I would have never described myself as a “runner.” In all honesty, it has been a few years since I have even considered myself an “athlete.”

In the months after losing my Dad after a long struggle with substance use disorder, I needed both an outlet for my grief and was extremely eager to do something BIG to honor and remember him. My Dad was about as spontaneous and adventurous as one could be and always took on life’s challenges with a smile and a laugh. He had a “go big, or go home” attitude and always reminded me that life is too short not to live it to the fullest. For me, running the 2019 Boston Marathon keeps his crazy, adventurous spirit alive and is a consistent reminder to take on new challenges and live life to the fullest just as he would want.

I can’t change the way our story ended but by raising funds through this run for Herren Project, I hope to help others have access to the resources they need to re-write their story. This cause is so meaningful to me and I am proud to play a very small part in the amazing work that Herren Project is doing.

This one’s for you Daddio – I’ll be smiling for you on Boylston!

Ginger Stephens

Ginger Stephens
Nacogdoches,TX

I spent many years turning to alcohol instead of God to meet my needs. I began running daily while I was in treatment for alcohol dependence at Covenant Hills. There they encouraged me to make exercise part of my therapy. Running became a sanctuary where I could clear my mind and begin to heal. When my life was at its darkest, running offered me peace and solitude. I ran my first half marathon in 2011, the year I got sober. Today, running is a vital part of my recovery.

Recovery changed the direction of my life. I went back to school and became a chemical dependency counselor and then went on to complete my Master’s degree to become a licensed professional counselor. Today, I have the privilege of helping others find hope and healing.

That’s how I was introduced to Chris Herren and Herren Project. I would show Chris’ documentary “Unguarded” to my substance abuse counseling groups. They could relate to Chris and his story.

Now I want to help give back in my recovery. That’s why I have chosen to run the Boston Marathon with Herren Project. I want to help give others the gift of recovery.

Tracy Calderone

Tracy Calderone
Baltimore, MD

When I spoke at my brother’s funeral in August 2015, I shared these words of grief that are still true today:

I grieve today for many things. I grieve for the feelings of pain, loneliness, helplessness, frustration, anger and despair that Matt, especially Matt, and all of us close to him felt as we watched this disease of addition take his life. I grieve for all of the other “Matt’s” out there who are battling this ugly, misunderstood, stigmatized and unbiased disease. No one should have to experience what we did; and if it can happen to our family, it can happen to anyone. I grieve that all our periods of hopefulness while Matt was in rehab and recovery were never ultimately realized. I grieve that there are no more chances to try again. I grieve that I will probably never stop asking questions like “what if I had done this?” or “what If I had said that?” “What else could we have done?” “Could I have listened better?” Maybe we should have used tough love when were we compassionate; maybe compassion when we were tough. I grieve that I could not help Matt. I grieve for the rest of Matt’s life that will not be lived; all of the experiences that we will have as a family that will be without him. I grieve that there will be some who remember Matt by this sickness and his inability to get well, instead of by the joy that he brought to so many of our lives. I grieve because my brother was an amazing person, who was full of life, love, pride, honor, hopes and dreams; and it does not seem real to me that he will not be our physical presence again. I grieve because I miss him.

I also shared my desire to turn the “why me/why us?” into “what’s next?” Even days after his death, I knew that I needed to find some way to be part of the solution … to bring an awareness to mental health issues and the disease of addition so that it is not so stigmatized; not viewed as an individual’s character flaw or failure, but instead a real sickness.

Herren Project has become my “what’s next?” and I could not be more proud to represent this organization. I am humbled by their trust in me to be a representative for them. By running the Boston Marathon in support of Herren Project, I know that I am helping to be part of the solution not only by raising funds, but by bringing awareness to the availability of resources that can lead to a life in recovery. Together we are proving that goodness does in fact grow. #milesformatt

Allen Thomas

Allen Thomas
Boynton Beach, FL

Allen has been working with Herren Project for 3 years, running Boston with us in 2018, as well as the ’17 and ’18 Falmouth Road Races. He currently works for Immersion Recovery Center as a primary therapist. Allen spreads awareness for substance use disorder to honor his late father and sister, who he lost to the disease of addiction in 2014 and 2015, respectfully.

Anna Walsh

Anna Walsh
Brookline, MA

I am running the 2019 Boston marathon with Herren Project in support of my brother and all of those who are either experiencing addiction or love someone experiencing addiction. Herren Project recognizes that addiction is a family disease. Together, my family has experienced heartache, anger, and fear, but also strength, resiliency, and love.

The fear of losing my funny and caring brother to this disease is all consuming. Running has provided me a healthy outlet to manage this stress. Only while I am running am I truly able to separate my life and my goals from my brother’s addiction. Running the NYC half marathon last year with Herren Project was the first time I was able to publicly share my family’s story while also raising money for an incredible organization. By sharing stories and raising awareness, we can de-stigmatize this disease and begin to show more compassion and understanding to those suffering.

In addition to my brother, this epidemic has devastated my small hometown in Massachusetts. I have lost multiple friends and classmates to addiction and I fear that I will lose more. Overdose deaths are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50, yet high quality treatment is not accessible to all. My wish is a world where people with substance use disorders are treated with compassion, kindness, and with empathy. Herren Project reminds me to never give up hope. Treatment and recovery are always possible – no matter how many times it might take.