Together, on a cold wet day last April, Emma Jones '11 and Jackson Callahan '11 ran the 2018 Boston Marathon in memory of a classmate and friend, Freddy Tonsberg '11.
Emma Jones ’11 and Jackson Callahan ’11 have a story to tell – a story about friendship, camaraderie, and the love they had for their friend and classmate, the late Freddy Tonsberg ‘11. They’ve told it through words, photographs, shared memories, and combined strength. Together, on a cold wet day last April, Emma and Jackson ran the 2018 Boston Marathon in Freddy’s memory. Here is why.
Brewster: Can you recollect the time you first met Freddy?
Emma: I met Fred at the start of our junior year at Brewster. Within minutes it felt like we had known each other for years. I think what made Freddy stand out as someone I wanted to be friends with was his infectious laugh and his way of making people around him smile. I can still remember our first class together; we had an assignment to create and film a music video. Naturally, Freddy played the lead role, and we ended up with far more footage for bloopers than we did the actual assignment.
Jackson: I met Freddy my first day of junior year in Sargent Hall. We shook hands and introduced ourselves. “Hi, I’m Freddy. I play hockey.” Ten minutes later, I was outside playing lacrosse when Brandon (Freddy’s little brother who was also new to Brewster and a year younger than Freddy) came up to me and introduced himself. My response was, “I know, I met you ten minutes ago.” I quickly came to realize that Freddy had a brother who looked exactly like him. Thankfully, Brandon forgave me after my not so warm welcome, and we’re still best buds to this day. And, thankfully, Freddy made this, and so many other lasting friendships, possible.
Brewster: How did you stay connected with Freddy after you graduated from Brewster?
Jackson: I had the pleasure of going to college with Freddy. I’ll never forget, it was senior year at Brewster, and we were at one of Fred’s hockey games, when his dad came up to me and said, “Jackson, you have to check out High Point University, it’s amazing.” A few days later I applied, and the rest is history. Freddy was my new roommate. I got to spend nine years with Freddy - nine years of memories our Brewster friends will cherish forever.
Emma: I think it’s pretty remarkable how well connected our friends have stayed since graduating from Brewster. Not only do many of our Brewster friends live in Boston and see each other regularly, but we have always spent time together for things like Christmas parties, New Year’s gatherings, our birthdays, or the Waldocon (a party at Jackson’s where we all dress up in a Where’s Waldo theme).
Brewster: Tell us about the organizations for which you ran? What was the selection process?
Emma and Jackson: We ran for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the Samaritans, respectively. The AFSP educates the public on suicide and suicide prevention while supporting families affected by suicide. Samaritans provides a 24-hour helpline, educates the public about suicide prevention, and helps those who have lost a loved one to suicide. Both organizations aim to reduce the stigma associated with suicide. We had similar selection processes; we each shared Freddy’s story with them, through an essay and an interview, and we explained what running the Boston Marathon in honor of Freddy would mean to us. In November 2017 we both got the news that we had been selected to be a member of the organizations’ marathon teams.
Brewster: What did you take away from this journey?
Emma and Jackson: Not only did we learn that we can run in any kind of weather but we were blown away by the support of our family and friends. It was an amazing experience in every way. Setting fundraising goals of $15,000 (Emma) and $10,000 (Jackson) is daunting. I think we were surprised by the fact that we not only reached our goals but exceeded them. It was surprising, but yet not surprising at the same time, what we were able to raise. The amount of support was incredible. Our friends and family made this experience all the better and much easier at times. After the race a big group of BA friends gathered to celebrate Freddy. We brought the Easy Button that Freddy loved. We made it in high school and the hockey guys would skate by and hit it when they scored. We still have it. We made a giant one for the marathon that everyone signed at the party.
They say training will give you the first 20 miles and heart will give you the last six and that was certainly true this past April. We love you Fred!