Memory Walk / Recovery Run 2024 Recap

Memory Walk / Recovery Run Recap

Our annual Memory Walk / Recovery Run took place on Saturday, April 13th at Cedar Lane Regional Park in Bel Air, MD. It was a chilly and windy morning, but it was nothing compared to the pouring rain we had at our event last year! It was another bittersweet day where families came together to support those in recovery from addiction, to mourn and honor lost loved ones to the devastating epidemic, to help others heal, and to encourage and pray for those in active addiction.

We had four speakers who kicked off the event with their inspirational words:

  • Heidi Gerard is the Founder and Executive Director of ChrysantheMoms, Inc., a nonprofit organization that supports women and children affected by substance use disorder. She talked about the first recovery house for women and their children she recently opened in Harford County, MD, and also about her own journey into recovery.
  • Lydia Bongiorno works with the Ashley Treatment Center Clubhouse program, and also offers services and support to Aberdeen Middle School and High School students who are affected by addiction.
  • Pastor Craig McLaughlin is a long-time speaker at these events and is an enormous supporter of Rage; he is a local spiritual leader who aides those who have lost a loved one to addiction and dedicates his words of wisdom to those in recovery.
  • Abby Dodge is a Rage Alumni and a committed Rage volunteer, and talked about her own recovery journey from a resident in one of our own sober living houses to becoming a House Manager, and then branching out on her own to becoming a successful college student.

We had eighteen event sponsors (pictured above), a hot coffee station donated by Coffee Coffee, and end-of-race treats from Wegman’s, Bagel Works, and Mrs. Pose’s Bakery. The Abingdon Fire Department graciously provided the EMS and fire services in case there was an emergency.

This was definitely a community-wide effort and we could not be more thankful to everyone who came together to make this touching event possible.

Our first place winner in the 18 and under category was Austin Cataldi (bib #117, pictured below with our third place winner, River Counterman, bib #180, in the same category), with an official time of 23 minutes, and 26 seconds. When asked about his experience at the race, he shared these words: “my win at the Rage Against Addiction [event] was great. I pushed myself to show my mom and her team my support. I was very happy to come in first in the 1-18 [age] group. I feel like everyone should push themselves as far as they can go and be proud of their efforts. I don’t think I could have done it without Freestate Challenge Academy; all my Sargents there had pushed me every morning at 5:00am to run one mile everyday for five-and-a-half months so when I heard my mom talking about this run for Rage Against Addiction, I was so up for it and I knew I could win this! I’m interested in running next time.”

Austin said he does not feel that he has directly been impacted by addiction, but he has seen family and friends struggle, and he sees how intense addiction has become to society.

“Austin’s biological mother left when he was about five years old due to [her] addiction and has not been in his life since. He does not remember too much about that time but I have been blessed to be mom for the last eleven years,” said Sarah Patrick, a race participant and Austin’s biggest fan.


Read the Note on Matters of Mental Health by Wendy

Another year of fundraising! April is our month to gather and remember those we love who have been affected by the disease of addiction. Some walk, some run, and others just need a place to remember out loud. As always, it’s so touching to see the families who have lost so much continue to return each year. Something about that day allows us to come together in solidarity.

We would love to give a big shout out to our event planner, Road and Trail, who beautifully handled our in-person Run/Walk and who continues to manage our virtual piece all month long! Thank you!

Have you tuned in lately? Check out some old and recent podcasts dedicated to addiction, recovery, and mental health. Conversations with Rich Bennett offers a variety of important topics that you can listen to on your way to work, while you’re at the gym, or as you relax at home. Our very own Wendy Beck makes appearances in many episodes!


Please check our Event Calendar for more details about what we are up to!

May 9, 2024: It’s Mental Health Awareness Day at Harford Community College (208 Thomas Run Road – Bel Air, MD 21015). Some of our Rage team and others in the area will be having a panel discussion about our own experiences with mental health and addiction.


We serve locally but think globally. For counseling, or for addiction, substance abuse disorder, or mental illness treatment, please contact your area’s health department, county government, hospital, or law enforcement agency.

Addiction Connections Resource: A non-profit organization that assists with providing resources and support for addiction treatment and that educates the community about substance abuse disorder. Located in Fallston, MD. Please visit here or call 443-417-7810 for more information.

Ashley Addiction Treatment: An inpatient treatment center that personalizes clinical programs based on individual need. Located in Havre De Grace, MD. Please visit here or call 800-799-4673 for information about online and in-person meeting services.

Celebrate Recovery: A local support group for those with addictive behaviors. Located in Bel Air, MD and Joppa, MD.​

Mt. Zion Church (1643 Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD 21015): every Thursday at 5:45pm. Please visit here for more information about meetings.

Mountain Christian Church (New Life Center 1802 Mountain Road, Joppa, MD 21085): every Friday at 6:00pm. Please visit here for more details.

GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing): A local support group for those who have lost someone to addiction.

6:30pm on the 2nd Wednesday of each month.

Located in the Education Building at Mt. Zion Church: 1643 Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD 21015

Contact for more information. The private national Facebook group is available. Please visit here to ask to join.

The Klein Family Harford Crisis Center: A clinic that provides immediate care for mental health and addiction. Located in Bel Air, MD. Please visit here or call 410-874-0711 for information about services.

Loving An Addict: A local support group for family and friends of those in active addiction.

7:00pm on the 1st Saturday of each month.

Located in the Education Building at Mt. Zion Church: 1643 Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD 21015

Contact for more information.

Voices Of Hope: An organization made up of people in recovery who advocate for behavioral health disorder prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery resources, who eliminate the stigma of addiction through outreach events and education, and who support all pathways of recovery including harm reduction and Narcan training. Located in Cecil County, MD. Please visit here or call 443-933-7055 for information about services.

Daughter’s House: Designed to assist women who are transitioning from substance abuse treatment to recovery; includes three Level II Maryland Certification of Recovery Residence (MCORR) sober living houses (Daughter’s House, Sister House, and The Cottage) located in Harford County, MD. Each house is tailored to meet each individual’s needs.

RAA ABC (After Baby Care): Empowering new moms in early recovery with postpartum care packages for mother and baby. Items are selected from a predetermined checklist for qualifying and referred families.

HALO (How to Live Without Our Addicted Loved One): An online grief support group specifically for those that lost loved ones to substance abuse. Click here to ask to join the private Facebook page. *Please read and answer the membership questions prior to joining.*

Wendy Beck: Founder and Executive Director

Rachel Bongiorno: Daughter’s House Program Director and Recovery Coach

Mia Ellis: Administrator and Board Secretary

Amanda Buddenbohn: Board of Directors President

Tara Kuzma: Board of Directors Treasurer

Rich Bennett: Board Member

Meredith Morris: Board Member

Jeff Pollard: Board Member