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March 01. 2013 8:54PM

Manchester man set to run Boston Marathon to help vets


Derek St. Cyr of Manchester runs along the warning track in front of Fenway Park during the 2012 Run to Home Base. St. Cyr this year is running the Boston Marathon as a member of the Red Sox Foundation's team, raising funds in honor of his father, Leo, a veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. (COURTESY)

MANCHESTER - For Derek St. Cyr, post traumatic stress disorder was the unnamed shadow that haunted his father and their family.

That shadow will follow St. Cyr as he runs in this year's Boston Marathon to raise money to benefit the Run to Home Base Program, which provides clinical and therapy services to combat veterans suffering from brain injury or PTSD.

His dad, Leo, served in the Army during the Korean and Vietnam wars and came home with a condition that at the time had no diagnosis. Instead of therapy, Leo "self-medicated" and turned to the bottle, St. Cyr said.

"He became an alcoholic and was emotionally and physically abusive," St. Cyr said.

He said he did not serve in the Armed Forces, primarily because his father did not want the same fate for his son. The memory of his father, who died five years ago, gives St. Cyr, 39, the motivation to raise money for veterans suffering with PTSD, he said.

"I've seen the ugly head it can rear," he said. "It's something I can do as a tribute to my dad because I want (today's soldiers) to have the help he never did."

St. Cyr is hosting an event at  6 p.m. Saturday at Jillian's Restaurant in Manchester with the goal of raising at least $3,000. He has local celebrities, including WMUR's Sean McDonald and musician Chad LaMarsh, serving as "beertenders" who will donate their tips to the cause.

"We're looking forward to it and we wish him great success," said Wendy Fisher, manager at Jillian's.

The event has a $10 entry fee and features several raffle items. All proceeds from door fees, raffle entries and tips to the celebrity bartenders will be donated to the Run to Home Base Program, which is run by the Boston Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital.

The raffle items include a golf package donated by Holloway Motors and tickets donated by the Manchester Monarchs and New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

But other items include sports memorabilia and tickets to Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins games, all of them donated out of St. Cyr's pocket, he said.

"Every dollar is so critical for these veterans," he said. "There's no such thing as having enough money for this."

St. Cyr said he has completed six marathons. His fastest time was 4 hours, 30 minutes, but he said his goal for the Boston Marathon, which will be run April 15, is to finish in under 4 hours.

More information about St. Cyr's run for the charity can be found at https://give.massgeneral.org/support-derek-st-cyr

tbuckland@unionleader.com


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