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Bergstrom-Lynch runs to support victims of domestic violence

Published on December 04, 2020

Bergstrom-Lynch runs to support victims of domestic violence

Bergstrom Lynch
Bergstrom-Lynch ran the 5k at home, where her family presented her with cocoa and marshmallows at the finish line in the kitchen, before tuning in to a post-run video meeting.

For the past seven years, Cara Bergstrom-Lynch, sociology professor and chair of the Sociology, Anthropology, Criminology and Social Work Department at Eastern Connecticut State University, has run in the Hot Chocolate Challenge for Safe Passage in Northhampton, MA. Safe Passage is designed to raise public awareness on the issue of domestic violence. Since 1977, supporters have helped thousands of individuals achieve safety, secure justice and rebuild their lives in the wake of domestic violence. 

Begrstom-Lynch wore a ribbon commemorating everyone who donated.

Bergtrom-Lynch participates in Safe Passage in memory of Alyssiah Wiley, an Eastern sophomore who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2013. 

“This event is important to me as a way of honoring the memory of Alyssiah and supporting survivors of domestic violence,” said Bergstrom-Lynch. “The Eastern community always shows up in a big way and this year, when the service needs are even greater due to the pandemic, I am especially grateful for their generosity.”  

In a non-pandemic year, Bergstrom-Lynch would be running alongside more than 6,000 other people. This year, all events to support Safe Passage were virtual. But if you know runners like Bergstrom-Lynch, even “virtual” means running!

“Runners could run anywhere, so I ran the 5k (3.1 miles) at home. My family made me a ‘finish line’ and cocoa with marshmallows! There was a Facebook Live event at noon on Sunday afterwards to celebrate.”  

Over the years, Bergstrom-Lynch has raised a total of $13,640. “I wanted to raise $1,500 this year, and thanks to the generosity of friends, family and my Eastern colleagues who sponsored me, I raised $2,890! I nearly double my goal.”

Bergstrom-Lynch ranked as the sixth highest fundraiser out of 1,824 participants with 63 sponsors. This included 30 friends and family and 33 Eastern colleagues and former students who are now Eastern alumni.

Bergstrom-Lynch strongly encourages the public to keep the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) Hotline within reach. It is (888) 774-2900 (available 24/7) or visit for more resources. “You never know who might need that lifeline.” Bergstrom-Lynch hopes to attend the event in person in Northampton, MA, next year. 

Written by Dwight Bachman

Categories: Sociology