Valley continues finding ways to support victims of Boston Marathon bombings
AMHERST — Outpouring of support for the victims of the explosions Monday at the Boston Marathon continues through both statements of sympathy from area communities and local fundraisers aiming to help those who were hurt.
Amherst’s Select Board Tuesday night held a moment of silence for those who were killed or injured before Chairwoman Stephanie O’Keeffe read a letter to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.
“Amherst shares your shock and grief for the outrage committed on one of Boston’s most magical days, at one of its most beloved events,” the letter reads.
“Despite all the sadness and fear, your city has inspired us,” the letter reads. “The selflessness and true heroism of first responders, marathon staff and volunteers, hospital personnel and countless regular folks makes us all proud.”
Amherst is also on the receiving end of a letter from the mayor of Amherst’s sister city in Kanegasaki, Japan, Yoshiichi Takahashi.
“Please accept our sincere condolences. In addition, please pass our deepest sympathies to townspeople in Amherst and Massachusetts. We are always with you and our friendship is anytime here.”
Takahashi noted that middle schoolers form Kanegasaki who visited Amherst last month toured Boston during their visit and had seen signs promoting the marathon.
Kathleen Woods Masalski, co-chairwoman of the Kanegasaki Sister City Committee, said she is sure everyone in Amherst appreciates the condolences.
“It’s always comforting when a friend reaches out at times like this,” Masalski said. “And I think it’s particularly wonderful when that friend is the mayor of a city halfway round the world.”
On Saturday, area runners competing in the Boston Marathon who didn’t get to finish are invited to the University of Massachusetts campus by Charley Molnar, the head football coach.
They will have a chance to “Cross the Finish Line” at the Minutemen’s Spring Game at McGuirk Alumni Stadium, which begins at 4 p.m. Runners will take a lap around the field, cross the finish line at the 50-yard line, and be presented a gift from the UMass football program.
Their names will be displayed on the stadium’s video board in recognition of their accomplishment.
In addition, two area road races this weekend will now be tied into helping victims of the bombings.
St. Brigid’s Catholic Church in Amherst is putting on its second 5-kilometer road race and 1.5-mile fun walk Saturday.
Runners and walkers can begin checking in at 8 a.m. near McGuirk Stadium.
The cost is $18 for those who preregister, $20 on the day of the race, $15 for students and $40 for families of two adults and two children.
After expenses are deducted, money left over will be contributed to the One Fund Boston, the officially designated charity.
To register for the event, go to www.runreg.com/Net/3502. For more information, call 256 6181.
On Sunday, the first 5-kilometer Purple Walk/Run to benefit the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Hampshire County, at Look Memorial Park in Florence, will be dedicated to those affected by the marathon bombings.
Of the $15 registration fee, $5 will go toward relief efforts for Boston’s victims, with the remainder to benefit the cancer society.
Walkers and runners can begin checking in at 8 a.m. at the park’s Dow Pavilion, with the race starting at 9 a.m.
Meanwhile, at UMass Thursday night, a community run was held to support the people of Boston and declare that the bombings will not stop people from going about their lives took place at UMass. The 2.62-mile run extended around the campus.
Freshman Christopher Weyant of Wilbraham, an organizer, said the event was meant to commemorate the victims.
“It is also a celebration,” he said. “It is a message to whoever wishes to attack us that we will not stand for any sort of violence on our nation or the human race.”
He said the idea came to him because he was shaken by the attacks on a city he knows well.
“Boston is a city I call my second home. I’m constantly in the area and my mom underwent her cancer treatments there in 2003 and 2004,” said Weyant. “She continues to go back for check-ups.”