Milford High grad to run Boston Marathon in honor of late brother

MILFORD — Jackie Creasey has never run a marathon.

She’s run a couple of half marathons and a triathlon, but when she lines up at the starting line of the 2019 Boston Marathon this coming April it will mark her first full marathon.

Ms. Creasey, a 2007 Milford High School graduate, is running the marathon for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in honor of her late brother, Alex Creasey.

“I knew I wanted to do a marathon, and I was very set on that,” she explained. “I didn’t really know if there was a specific charity for suicide prevention, but I knew that if I was going to run for a charity and I was going to raise money, I wanted it to be related to that.”

It was on Jan. 25, 2018, that Alex, a 2017 graduate of Milford High, committed suicide. He was only 19 years old. Ms. Creasey says her brother left with no warning signs. She hopes she can use the opportunity to not only raise money for the cause but also awareness.

“It’s a huge deal to me. I’m excited to use this massive platform to tell Alex’s story and I just hope that somebody out there sees that there is hope and there is help. So, to me, it’s a huge deal because for me and my team it gives us a chance to hopefully reach somebody and to maybe help somebody,” Ms. Creasey said.

“I would imagine that when you’re in a situation where you’re going through something like this – whether it’s depression or anxiety or whatever it might be – I think people lose sight of how loved they are and I just want to remind people that your family wants to help you, and that’s what we’re here for.”

At left, Alex Creasey,

Ms. Creasey, who moved to Boston in August 2017, launched a Crowdrise page on Nov. 26 and as of Dec. 16 she had raised $16,750 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in just three weeks. She has her fundraising goal set at $20,000.

“It’s crazy. I put an announcement up on my Instagram, then I made a different Instagram account that’s sort of going to track my training and all of that,” she said. “And then I reactivated my Facebook because I had that turned off for a little over a year at this point. So, I got back on Facebook and just kind of used social media to get the word out.”

Family, friends and acquaintances have reached out to Jackie and her family and the outpouring of support from the Milford community has not gone unnoticed.

“The community support has been very overwhelming, but in the best way,” Ms. Creasey said. “It’s such a powerful thing to see how everyone has come together. It’s the kind of thing that I wish Alex could have seen, because there’s so much love and so much support and it’s a really nice thing for my parents to see how supported and how loved they are.”

The process to receive a bib for the marathon takes time and involves numerous steps, including an application and interviews.

“When I interviewed, I spoke to a girl who ran the marathon last year and she said that it’s a life-changing experience to be a part of this group and go through this journey.”

Ms. Creasey didn’t find out she was selected to run the marathon until the week of Thanksgiving.

“You apply for the bib, applications were early October and then they narrow it down to interviews. So, I went in for an interview and they decided just before Thanksgiving. It was very emotional when I found out. I hadn’t told my family that I was applying, because I didn’t think that I would get a bib because they only have five bibs to give out. I called my parents and told them the Tuesday just before Thanksgiving,” she said.

“They were very, very excited,” she continued. “I think the weight of it was slowly sort of setting in. My older brother happened to be in Boston that day, he was in the city, so I met him for lunch that day and said, ‘I’m running the Boston Marathon for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’ and it was cool to see it dawn on him what a big deal it is.”

Ms. Creasey will be joined by five other runners, who will also be running the marathon and raising money for the AFSP.

She met the other AFSP team members Wednesday, Dec. 4 and began her training with the group Saturday, Dec. 8.

Every Saturday from now until the April 15 race will be spent training and bonding with the other team members.

“We’re going to be meeting every Saturday to run. We’re training on the actual Boston Marathon course on the weekends. Our team is five of us who were just given bibs through AFSP, and then we have a runner through John Hancock,” she explained. “So, he works for John Hancock and he was given a bib through work, but he’s choosing to raise funds for us so that gives us a sixth person.”

Jackie described Alex, an honor roll student and star wrestler during his time at Milford, as kind, sensitive and caring. He was attending Delaware State University and had earned straight A’s during his first semester of college.

She has many fond memories of her brother, but one of the memories that sticks out is all of the time the two spent together going to the movies.

“One of the things we loved doing together was we would always go to the movies and watch scary movies together, so every time there’s a new scary movie that comes and I see previews I think back to that,” Ms. Creasey said. “We’ve done that ever since he was a little boy and I could drive, so that was always nice that we could go and do that together.”

To donate to Jackie’s cause, you can check out her Crowdrise page at crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/american-foundation-for-suicide-prevention-boston-2019/jackiecreasey.

You can follow along with her marathon training progress on the Instagram account @bostonstrong_for_alex.

 

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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