Sunday, May 28th, 2017

Boston Marathon memorial run planned after brother’s tragic death

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WOBURN/March 28, 2017  – The Stoneham Independent By Nancy Donahue.  He’s getting ready to embark on one of the most grueling races around, but for Stoneham native Ricky Atherton, the cause is so much bigger than the challenge.

On April 17, Ricky will run the 121st Boston Marathon in memory the kid brother he lost last summer. Ricky has been running and competing for a while. His personal goals have morphed into even bigger ones, which is why he doesn’t make it about himself. But no matter how noble the cause, he wishes circumstances were different. In June, Ricky’s world turned upside down when his younger brother and best friend died tragically.

David Atherton was just 24 years old when he died from a gun accident. Just three weeks earlier, he celebrated his graduation from the Massachusetts Fire­fighting Academy and was looking forward to a career as a Stoneham firefighter. A 2011 Stoneham High School graduate, David went on to serve his country in the Massachusetts Army National Guard.

It was a terrible blow to Ricky who always looked out for his kid brother, especially after the deaths of their parents. The boys lost their mom Kathleen suddenly in 2005 and dad Rick in 2010, and found comfort and strength in each other in the ensuing years.

Now Ricky has turned his sorrow into action and, in David’s name, is raising money for Military Friends Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization serving Massachusetts families of the National Guard, Reserves and The Fallen. The foundation offers grant programs, community events, referral services and more to families facing hardship related to active service.

On Sunday, March 26, Ricky is hosting a fundraiser at Local 438 Grill & Sports Bar, located at 125 Main Street, from 4-10 pm with raffles and a silent auction to help him reach his goal of $10,000 for the Military Friends. All are welcome.

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