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(NECN: Jackie Bruno, Boston) – On Saturday, May 4, Boston will host the largest running event since the marathon bombings. It's the Red Sox Foundation's Run-Walk to Home Base.
More than 2,000 runners will run onto Fenway's field and cross home plate, all to raise money to help our veterans who are struggling with the "invisible wounds" of war.
“The amount of stress you’re going through all at once with missing family as well as leaving soldiers to come back and get into normal environment. I’ve seen first hand the impact on our veterans and that’s why this program is so important to me,” says veteran Brendan Melly.
He will be one of over 2,000 participants in the 4th annual run/walk to home base at Fenway Park on Saturday. Over the past three years, the event has raised $7 million to help heal “invisible wounds” like post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries.
“Many of them can’t go on trains for example because of the crowds. But when they go for therapy and treatment they realize they can overcome this and it’s a matter for retraining the brain so it realizes they aren’t in a dangerous place,” says Brigadier General (ret.) Jack Hammond.
But since the Boston Marathon bombings, we’ve all been reminded that home isn’t always safe. It’s a sad reality that complicates the healing process.
“It’s a tragic thing and it’s connection from that event to this event is that’s something that vets experience on a daily basis over there. So you can imagine they’re in that situation all the time when they’re deployed and it becomes more important to support a cause like this,” says veteran and runner Nick Pszenny, a senior at Northeastern University. He and his team, Huskies for Heroes, have raised about $26,000 for this year’s race. He says the reason to help is simple.
“They served us, it’s time to serve them.”
Jackie Bruno is joined by Dr. Stefan Schmertz, a clinician at the Home Base Clinic.
What symptoms should people look for in veterans?
“It’s perfectly natural to expect some readjustment issues when you’re coming back from these deployments. Some common things that people experience are some heightened anxiety, particularly in situations that are similar to real situations that were a threat while deployed; two big ones are driving and being in crowds…being isolated…difficulty enjoying things like they once did…difficulty sleeping is a big one.”
Dr. Schmertz says generally they say there is some natural recovery that happens, but if these issues persist longer than three months or if they cause significant impairment in relationships or life, then it’s time to reach out for help.
Families and children also receive help from Home Base.
Watch the attached video for more, and to find out more about the Home Base Program, visit this website.