By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury residents Barbara Cantwell, her husband Mike Gentile, and her friend Peggy Guyott are participating in this year’s Columbia Threadneedle Investments Boston Triathlon at Carson’s Beach in South Boston, July 27 and 28. For them it’s deeply personal. Cantwell and Guyott both lost sons to the opioid epidemic.
“Please join us to support the Grayken Center for Addiction at [Boston Medical Center] as we participate in the Boston Triathlon in memory of Robby and Jamie. We appreciate your donations and support,” Cantwell stated.
She also said that they want to help raise awareness of this significant problem.
Guyott’s son Robby was only 20 when he died in 2013 and Cantwell’s son Jamie, 24, died in 2015. The two men were friends, having grown up together.
Their mothers have also been friends for a long time. Guyott described them as “sisters from different mothers.” Their friendship has been indelibly bonded through shared tragedies.
For the third year, the pair and Gentile are participating in the triathlon to raise funds for Boston Medical Center (BMC) to help combat the opioid crisis that is affecting families across the commonwealth and nationwide.
“BMC does such great work on helping the patients cure holistically by working not only with the patient but with their families. They have a great food pantry and a roof top garden that provide fresh food not only for the hospital but for patients to take home,” Guyott remarked. “I was able to tour BMC and was so impressed by everyone there and the respect for the people in recovery. Instead of having the person stand in line for the methadone clinic, they write them a [prescription] for their primary doctor thus eliminating the stigma of being ‘a person in recovery.’”
Now in its 11th year, the event includes a swim, bike and run at Carson’s Beach, William Day Boulevard and the South Boston waterfront.
Cantwell will compete in the running portion, which is 5.5 kilometers and Gentile will bike, also 5.5 kilometers, then Guyott will swim 750 meters to conclude the triathlon.
Last year, their team raised over $6,000, and was one of the top fundraisers. This year’s goal is $5,000 dollars.
“My hope is that the money raised at the triathlon will help BMC continue its innovative ways of making long-term recovery a reality for every patient by removing any stigma or barriers in their way,” Guyott added.
She also credits the work of Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services for the work they are doing locally relevant to mental health awareness. She attended the agency’s 2014 gala to share Robby’s story.
To view the team’s page and to make a contribution, visit: http://bmc.convio.net/site/TR/Events/General?px=1025752&pg=personal&fr_id=1210.