Tuesday, May 24, 2011

NAMIWalk 2011: Every Mind Matters

It was the perfect Saturday kind of weather you only find in Oklahoma the day after a steady rain.  The calm after the storm.  Our lucky team of 13 joined the other 1,787 walkers to raise awareness and funds for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. 

There were speeches, donation announcements, music, but mostly it was the fellowship that made me proud.  The old AA adage "It doesn't matter if you come from Yale or Jail" applies to the diversity of the NAMIWalk.  Caregivers and patients, parents and children, new and old friends trekked the 3.5 miles with dignity.  Perspiration and inspiration ruled. 

Some of my favorite moments are like mental snapshots:  My mother and daughter Kate leading the pack over a bridge.  My brother laughing and talking with a friend.  Jazzercisers doing the warm up.  Wheelchairs and strollers. The Oklahoma Accordian Society (Random, but wonderful). Supportive long term friends showing up to wear the BiPolar Bears Team Tshirt and hamming it up for the cameras.

The money is still being counted, but it looks like they will achieve their goal of $130,000 to go toward advocacy, education, action centers, the help line . . . NAMI does so much for so many people.

Thank you NAMI for giving me and my brother a common cause and a way to help others together. 

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