Reflecting on 2023
Scanning through my 2023 calendar, I feel a myriad of emotions bubbling up to the surface.
Humbled, grateful, overwhelmed, and love are just some of what I am feeling.
There is no doubt that 2023 was a year of growth at the Brian Dagle Foundation. And, I find, with each year, I am also growing, changing, and transforming from the loss of Brian. I have to believe that everyday Brian is teaching me how to love, live, and be the person I am.
After 12 years, I’ve learned to befriend the grief. There’s a knowing, an understanding of the undeniable connection between grief and love. Is this thing we are feeling still called grief or is it really our love with no place to go?
The people who come to Brian’s Healing Hearts Center for Hope and Healing come for a reason; they’ve entered the wilderness of grief. And when the storm is over, you will wonder how you survived. But you will survive. My hope is that you will do more than survive and perhaps thrive. I hold you all close in my heart.
I advocate, educate, and speak about suicide awareness and mental health to make a to start the conversation, hoping to make a difference in one life. Although each time I present or speak, I wonder, if I knew then what I know now, maybe my life would be very different.
There were many years when I couldn’t look towards the new year. The thought of another year without Brian was too painful. But I know he is with me- guiding me everyday. Today, I can say that I’m excited to see what the new year brings. It is my sincere hope that someday you will look forward to the new year too. Until then, be kind to yourself.
As for the Brian Dagle Foundation and Brian’s Healing Hearts, it was a year of growth and transformation with incredible opportunities that continue to open doors.
The Cottage at Brian’s Healing Hearts was completed in the spring. We are grateful to the Edward and Mary Lord Foundation https://theedwardandmarylordfoundation.org/ for their very generous donation to help us with the total cost. This serene new space allows for us to host larger support groups, workshops, and events. Often, we offer two groups at once.
We completed another successful LAX2LIVE season which included 21 games with 34 schools, reaching more than 1,000 athletes, parents, and coaches. We continue the conversation on mental health and suicide awareness. “It’s okay not to be okay, there is help. Let’s talk about it.”
The grief support programs at Brian’s Healing Hearts continue to grow as referrals come in from across the state with around 13 grief support groups each month. We added a virtual Family & Friends for anyone grieving the loss of someone close to them.
In June I received the highest Patriot’s Foundation Myra Kraft MVP award for our work at the Dagle Foundation (you can read more at https://www.patriots.com/video/patriots-foundation-celebrates-26-myra-kraft-community-mvp-award-winners). As you can see in the video, I was completely speechless and words to explain how I felt receiving this award still escape me. But Brian was a true Patriots fan, and he is smiling down thrilled knowing his mother has her own Patriot’s football.
Opportunities continued to unfold for the Brian Dagle Foundation in the fall. We were chosen to be the Hometown Charity for the Share the Love Event with Subaru. We are grateful to Reynolds’ Subaru in Lyme for selecting us to be part of this incredible campaign. (click to learn more: https://www.reynoldssubaru.com/)
A huge thank you to Reynolds’ Subaru as the first race sponsor for the 10th Niantic Jingle Bell 5K.
It was our 10th Niantic Jingle Bell 5K – WOW. It was a record-breaking year.
Sponsorships were the highest ever!! There were 1500+ registered and $18k+ in donations!
The Brian Dagle Foundation welcomed a new program coordinator Chelsea Bourn. Chelsea has worked her entire career in nonprofit programming. She will be working with the current grief support programs as well as community education on mental health and suicide awareness. Chelsea will also develop new programs that align with our mission. Welcome to our team, Chelsea!
If there is one thing we know for sure: the need for the mission of the Brian Dagle Foundation is needed now more than ever. Anchored in hope and empowered to support, we are dedicated to the healing of grieving adults as well as community education on mental health and suicide awareness.
At Brian’s Healing Hearts we are proud to have created a safe space where healing can begin. And each conversation on mental health and suicide awareness seeds are planted that hope is possible.
Thank you for trusting us.
In closing, I will share with you part of my favorite quote from Winnie the Pooh, “Remember, if there is ever a day when we are not together, you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think”.
Wishing you moments of peace in the new year ahead.