2018 TCS New York City Marathon Team

Learn more about our NAMI Runs NYC Team.

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2018 TCS NYC Marathon Team Aidan C

Aidan

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Why do you run? I run first and foremost because it makes me happy. Focusing on sports in high school is when I fell in love with it whether it was specifically for track or keeping in shape for baseball. I quickly became addicted to tracking my mileage, time, splits, and all the technical aspects that came along with it. It wasn’t until after high school that I found happiness off the road and track, and on the trails, and in the mountains, and I began running and racing all across the country and world in ultra marathon distances.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? Raising awareness for mental illness means a great deal to me. Not only have I been diagnosed with bipolar, and endured both the medicated and unmedicated side effects of that, but I also know too many close friends and acquaintances who suffer because of mental illness – and their ability to feel safe and comfortable in their own head and body and in this world is important to me. Having survived a suicide attempt, I have made it my mission to do everything I can to be an ally and a friend to anyone going through something similar.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? I chose to run for NAMI-NYC because I have used their resources many times for help for myself and others, and I fully believe what they are doing to combat stigma and offer help to those who need it is desperately needed in every community in the world, and especially here in New York City. I am proud and honored to run for them.

2018 TCS NYC Marathon Team Alex T

Alex

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Why do you run? Running is my stress relief, my life goal and my pride. I was able to run my first marathon at the age of 40 after a lifetime on the couch. Now it’s a healthy obsession, if an obsession can be healthy.

I believe sports, and especially such an easy one to master as running, can help prevent not only numerous medical conditions but also rejuvenate your mind and soul, and greatly improve your self-esteem.

Why does raising awareness of mental illness matter to you? The fast pace of the 21st century consumes more and more victims, whether it’s the usual suspects in the form of chronic mental disorders, or new giants such as self-injury by young children, mass shootings, and epidemics of substance abuse.

The public is aware of the problem, but is not informed of the challenges that our field is facing, or the tools that might be available for them.

Raising awareness is very important to me as a long-time soldiers of the US mental health field, employed as a psychiatrist for more than 20 years at Brooklyn’s Maimonides Medical Center.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? To educate my colleagues, friends, and residents about your organization, and its mission and role in the life of our Big Apple community.

2018 TCS NYC Marathon Team Andrew L

Andrew

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Why do you run? For so many reasons! Aside from the obvious benefits, I find running to be even more beneficial for my mental health. It helps me clear my mind, organize my thoughts, and decompress. Not to mention it’s a nice way to get outside after a long day inside the office. It’s very therapeutic for me.

Why does raising awareness of mental illness matter to you? As someone who lives with bipolar disorder, raising awareness and reducing stigmas around mental illness are very important to me. I think as a society we’ve come up far short on how we discuss and perceive mental illness. For something that affects such an enormous amount of people, I think it’s a topic far more deserving of attention.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? Partnering with NAMI-NYC was honestly a no-brainer for me. As this will be my first marathon, I wanted to contribute to a cause meaningful to me and one that provides as much possible benefit to New Yorkers. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have a strong support system and the resources to live a normal life with a mental illness, but many are not able to say the same. I found NAMI-NYC’s mission to be incredibly moving and I’m excited to support!

2018 TCS NYC Marathon Team Camilla O

Camilla

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Why does raising awareness of mental illness matter to you? My family has a long history of depression — my mom and brother both struggle with severe depression, and unfortunately my uncle died by suicide a few years back when his depression got too much for him to handle. My best friend from college also has debilitating anxiety.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? I’m so excited to share NAMI’s resources with my mom, brother, and best friend (I’m particularly excited to tell my brother about your poetry group — he’s a writer!); I also really wish my uncle had access to the education, support, and advocacy that NAMI provides.

Mental illness is an issue that hits very close to home, and I want to do everything in my power to not only raise awareness among my friends and family, but also raise money for NAMI-NYC.

Running the NYC Marathon on the NAMI-NYC Runs team is an incredible honor!

David

David

David is running for NAMI-NYC with his own bib. Click here to support his fundraising efforts.

Why do you run? I have always have been active and in 2011 at the age of 53 I joined a charity fundraiser to participate in my first Triathlon which included swimming 9/10th of a mile, biking 25 miles and running 6.2 miles. Prior to this I was a casual biker, not a very strong swimmer, and not a runner. That all changed with my training for the triathlon, which I proudly finished. A short time after my successful triathlon I did an obstacle race, which I enjoyed so much that I became an obstacle race groupie. I began participating in different obstacle races from a 5K to 13 miles that included running, climbing/crawling over and under different obstacles and going into ice pits, running through fire, and crawling through mud.

My reason for running took a grim turn when my stepson Michael Vincent Rosen-Pipitone’s short life tragically ended from a treatable side effect from a medication, while he was in the hospital. He was 21 years old. That was in May, 2013. Michael was a beautiful human being with a deep feeling soul. He loved the arts, music, film and theater. He won awards for his script writing and theatrical performances.  He loved humor, and was clever and witty.

To help with our grief, Michael’s mother, Alison Rosen, and I formed the MVRP Foundation to provide scholarships to young artistic creative people in financial or emotional need in the arts, and to art organizations that Michael was associated with, and we support mental health groups such as NAMI-NYC.

To help raise money for our foundation, fueled by my grief and search for meaning after our tragedy, I thought that doing a high profile event like the NYC Half and Full Marathons would be helpful.  So now I’m doing endurance events.

Michael was amused that I do obstacle races. Now, he is my inspiration. When the race courses get tough and I am tired, I gain strength and persevere as I think about him. His spirit and smile will get me to the finish line. Michael always was striving to overcome the obstacles in his life. He did it with love and compassion and determination.

I run to Keep Michael’s light bright. I run to the finish line to reach my personal goals. I run with determination to meet our goals in supporting NAMI and helping others, in Michael’s memory.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? Our family experienced first hand hand how difficult it is when a family member suffers from mental illness and how it affects the whole family.

Mental illness is too pervasive and its treatment is not nearly as effective as it needs to be.  There are not enough resources to help with these problems and NAMI-NYC is striving to fix this through its community programs, family support, and more.  We (Alison, Michael’s mom and I) believe in ending the stigma. We believe in empathy.

It is important and personal for us to help others and offer support for people who struggle with mental illness and those who are misunderstood, abandoned by friends and struggle with loneliness and despair.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? I found support from NAMI-NYC when my family was in crisis. I was grateful to attend the free NAMI Family-to-Family 12-week program to better understand and learn necessary skills in how to deal with those who suffer from mental illness.  This program helped with our family dynamic dramatically.

So I chose NAMI-NYC and by supporting them, I am helping NAMI-NYC help others.

2018 TCS NYC Marathon Team Georgia B

Georgia

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Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? I have struggled with mental illness for as long as I can remember. I developed an eating disorder at the age of 8, and 7 years later finally reached out for help. At 16 I entered in-patient care, and spent the next ~3 years bouncing from in-patient to out-patient programs. I so badly wanted to beat this so I could attend college like any other young girl. I beat my eating disorder and headed off to college. Quickly, I relapsed. I worked extremely hard while balancing a full workload to beat my eating disorder and surmounting depression and self-harm. It’s always been a struggle. I would say I am 100% cured from my eating disorder. About a year ago, my depression came back – in January, I reached out for help, am back on medication and feeling 98% better. I have always been open about my mental health struggles. I spoke to my high school when I entered treatment, I wrote articles for the local newspaper and school magazines. I didn’t want to hide, I wanted my story to help others overcome their hidden demons. Now I want to do it again!

2018 TCS NYC Marathon Team Jackson Moran

Jackson

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Why do you run? I started running when I was a kid to be closer to my dad.  Now I run for a lot of reasons.  I run to stay fit, relieve stress and to spend time outside.  I run to unplug from the constant stream of noise coming from the news and technology, and to let my mind focus while I work through problems in my life.  I think running is as important for my mental health as it is for my physical health.

Running has been a great way to meet people who are different from me.  It’s a fantastic sport because anyone can do it.  You don’t need a lot of equipment and people can run for any reason that’s meaningful to them.  Looking back, I see now that a sense of community was always part of my life as a runner, from running with my dad to being a part of a team in high school to running with strangers in Brooklyn.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? My brother has a brain disorder and has struggled with serious mental illness for much of his life.  He started having seizures when he was a teenager and then experienced a lot of complications around his illness.  For years I’ve watched him and my mom heroically fight for the care that he needs.  The time that passed while they were seeking appropriate care, as well as time spent in inappropriate treatment settings, caused more complications.  When I think about the obstacles to getting care for so many people living with mental illness, I get very angry.  We need to make sure everyone has access to the care that they need, but policies are not going to change until attitudes change.

We are so scared of having honest conversations about mental illness in our society.  And it’s sad, because we all have so much to gain from being honest about this stuff.  1 in 5 people will experience mental illness in their lifetimes, which means someone you know could be dealing with this right now.

Raising awareness is crucial because it will lead to change, but also because it will give people the sense that they are not alone and that there is hope.  We have to replace the belief that people living with mental illness are in some way damaged or scary.  They’re just people living their lives as best they can and they have every right to try to achieve their full potential.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? I honestly believe that NAMI-NYC saves lives.  When my brother was first hospitalized, I felt overwhelmed and didn’t know how to help.  A friend recommended that I reach out to NAMI.  I called the number for the Helpline and was shocked there was someone on the other line talking to me, listening to my brother’s story, and offering information about programs and resources I could go to.  I don’t know where my family would be right now without NAMI.

I took the Family to Family course and met other people who wanted to help someone they loved.  It gave me a whole new way of thinking about what my brother was going through.  I learned some tools for being an advocate and I think I gained at least a slightly better sense of what my brother was experiencing.   It was a profound experience for me to hear parents and caregivers share stories about their loved ones.  I have the deepest respect for anyone who takes on the role of caregiver for someone dealing with an illness.  I also met other people who were siblings of someone living with mental illness.  Talking with them helped me put into words some of what I was feeling.

NAMI doesn’t just connect people to resources that they need.  It’s a constantly growing community for people who care about this issue.  I’m a big believer in the programs NAMI offers.  It’s doing the very difficult work of changing the way people think and talk about mental illness.

2018 TCS NYC Marathon Team Katharina T

Katharina

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Why do you run? While I’ve always been very active in life, I very recently fell in love with running. I finished my first race (Queens 10K!) this past June, and with every run I’m just excited to see how far my own two legs can take me. Some runs are great and some really push me, but it’s the community of runners that make it truly wonderful.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? Mental illness affects almost everyone, directly or indirectly, yet for most, help isn’t accessible. I finally got help for my own set of challenges a long time ago, but it took me two years from saying “I think this a little more intense than sadness or nerves” to showing up at a therapist’s office. I had no idea how to navigate through the system and was too intimidated for too long to pick up the phone and make the first call.

Reflecting on those years, I do think the stigma around mental illness contributed to my delayed actions, and I wouldn’t have had to struggle on my own during those two years had I been more educated about my options. In full transparency, I’m still a bit uncomfortable speaking openly about my experiences. However, I want to be a part of the voice that helps remove the stigma, and in order to chip away at it, I’m embracing being uncomfortable to create awareness.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? I’ve seen too many people struggle with mental illness and don’t want to wait around for someone else to do something about it. NAMI-NYC is an organization I really admire, and I’m happy I have the opportunity to not just clock in 26.2 miles for myself, but for something bigger than me, an organization that I’ve seen make a difference in so many people’s lives.

2018 TCS NYC Marathon Team Kathy B

Kathy

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Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? I was an avid runner, and ran the NYC Marathon back in 2002. After the birth of my second daughter in 2014, I had severe post-partum depression (PPD). Since then my life and my family’s lives have been tumultuous. I recently did transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and am feeling like the person I was. I need to give back because we have to find a way to change the stigma and provide support not only for the person with mental illness, but for their families.

2018 TCS NYC Marathon Team Marni

Marni

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Why do you run? I should start by saying that I am not really a runner, but I constantly find myself inspired by others to run. I started running to raise funds for a charity honoring one of my friends, and when I finished that race it was clear that running for others is incredibly gratifying. Since that first race I have tried to find races that either support a charity I am personally involved in or that support an organization that I feel is doing important work. Having been involved with NAMI NYC and YPAB for the last seven years, when I found out that NAMI-NYC was going to be a charity partner with the NYC Marathon for the first time I knew I wanted to run for NAMI.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? Raising awareness about mental illness is imperative to ending the stigma surrounding it. Both in a personal and professional capacity, I have seen first-hand how the lack of understanding has negatively impacted how people view mental illness and those living with mental illness and how the lack of conversation can leave people feeling isolated.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? I choose to run for NAMI-NYC as a way of giving back to an organization that I feel has given me, my family and countless others an invaluable gift. When I run down the streets of New York City in November I want people to see my NAMI gear and be inspired to learn more about NAMI. Even more so, I want those who already know what NAMI is to see me and to know that I am running for them, for their friends, for their family members and for everyone whose life has been touched by mental illness.

Melissa

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Why do you run? I grew up watching my dad run, and when I was old enough, we ran together. He would talk the whole way through, and sometimes we’d bring along little cards with bible verses. He’d test his memory, reciting the verses aloud as I looked down at the card in my hand. Through labored breathing I’d correct or prompt him when his memory failed — he was usually more fit than me.

These days my dad doesn’t run much, but I still enjoy the simple and strange pleasure of doing something really difficult, watching my brain and body adapt and figure out how to keep up, and then collapsing at the end of it all: proud, tired, humbled…and tired.

And sometimes I think about running as a way to practice something that’s increasingly important to me – a way to practice doing something my mind tells me I can’t do. This is my first marathon, and my mind has plenty of objections.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? I work in a psychiatric hospital. People come in every day, and many of them turn out to be people I admire and care about deeply. I don’t understand all the reasons why mental illness is treated and talked about in a way that’s so different from other kinds of illness. What I do feel very familiar with is the cost of that difference. I see it and feel it everyday – in the way people suffer quietly, or silently, for far too long. In the way that people continue to feel shame after they have chosen to seek help, unable to shake the feeling that somehow all this must be their own fault. Raising awareness about mental illness is important to me because I think it’s part of the way we help people who are in pain recognize that they don’t have to be alone.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? Running is always great, but getting to run for a good reason is better. Being on the NAMI-NYC team has invigorated my training and given me a new sense of commitment. And NAMI-NYC is an organization I’ve appreciated and utilized for many years. When I need to point someone towards support groups or education – I look here. There is no question it’s an invaluable presence in our community, and I’m honored to be someone who gets to represent the values of education, support and advocacy on November 4.

Paul Dalio

Paul

Paul is fundraising on his own. Click here to support Paul’s fundraising efforts on behalf of NAMI-NYC.

The descent into depression reminds me of the sign at the entrance of hell in Dante’s inferno, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

You grip the door with slipping fingertips, your eyes widen to the sky trying to glimpse some image that will tighten your grip. When you see a person with an illness in a sick bed, your fingers go limp. When you see people running faster than even before they got sick, because their climb out of hell made them more powerful than those who never took that round trip, that is why we run, to be that image that will lift them from their sickbeds and show the world that running on that thorny road is a breeze to your torn feet.

– Paul Dalio, Why I Run For NAMI-NYC

2018 TCS NYC Marathon Team Samantha M

Samantha

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Why do you run? For me, running is not only a way to stay active and healthy, but it is a privilege I am given each and every day. Of course, not every run is easy, but they are all opportunities for personal achievement and, more importantly, stress relief, no matter the distance or speed. Every run is worth it.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? Mental illness affects everyone – whether that be personally or indirectly through family members, friends, coworkers, etc. making this a universal issue. And yet, this is still one of the most closeted and stigmatized diseases that is often brushed under the rug until it is too late. Raising awareness helps to start that conversation and let the millions of people struggling know that there is help available and they aren’t alone.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? Even as someone only in their mid 20’s, I’ve seen many young people in my life struggle through mental illness and wanted to use this platform as a way to raise awareness and offer help. Most individuals suffering aren’t aware of the resources available to them, and I hope to be able to share that information, while also opening up the conversation that many of us are too afraid to have.

2018 TCS NYC Marathon Team_Sean

Sean

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Why do you run? I run for those who can’t. For those who want to go out and experience the world around them in one of the most natural and organic ways, by running. I run because it keeps me healthy, both physically and mentally. Running allows me to be in my own space, pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? I have friends and family members who have struggled with mental health problems. I know parents who can no long hold their son. I know children who can no longer hug their mom or dad. I have struggled myself in one or another and I want to change that. I want to do more than be a bystander.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? After a week of high profile suicides in the news, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to act, had to do something to make an impact. NAMI was the first thing that popped up and I immediately jumped at the chance of turning my lottery entry into something more. I couldn’t be a bystander any longer.

2018 TCS NYC Marathon Team Tanner H

Tanner

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Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? A family member was diagnosed with bipolar and schizophrenia about 5 years ago, but the symptoms have been evident for much longer. As many people who have friends or relatives with a mental illness know, it is easy, and more comfortable, to dismiss the early signs as quirky behavior or adolescent idiosyncrasies. Unfortunately, as time has passed by, the idiosyncrasies remained; their grasp on reality has lessened. We have continued to support them through all the pain and frustration; but due to advancement of the illness and restrictions related to HIPPA laws, it has been a long battle with few successes. In the meantime, I’m exploring ways to help other individuals at risk through funding, awareness, and support.

Despite the prevalence of mental illness, there is little conclusive research on the subject – one that struggles to get the attention it warrants due to the stigmas it carries.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? I’m using the NYC Marathon to help shed light on a major societal issue – mental health. I’m running on behalf of NAMI-NYC because it has been a constant source of support and inspiration. With research and patience, I have gotten comfortable sharing my experiences with others, only to find that most people with whom I have spoken about the topic also have a friend or relative with mental illness(es).

2018 TCS NYC Marathon Team Taryn C

Taryn

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Why do you run? After using up my NCAA eligibility to row in college, I wanted to try different ways to stay in shape. I’d run before as cross training for rowing, but had never committed myself to running regularly. Now that I’ve gotten more into running, it’s been a great stress reliever and way to explore new areas around where I live.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? Raising awareness is important to me because it’s something that affects my life. I recently went through a period where my own mental health got pretty bad and I wasn’t necessarily ready to reach out for the help I needed, nor did I know who to reach out to. I ended up spending time in the hospital and inpatient treatment which helped me gain skills to make it through future hard times. I got a lot better at being honest about how I’m feeling and talking about mental health. Now I want to raise awareness so someone going through a similar situation can get the help they need, and access the resources available to them.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? I knew that I wanted to run a marathon, but I really didn’t think it would come this soon. When I was going through the list of charity partners and saw that NAMI-NYC was one of them, I immediately knew this was who I wanted to run for since mental illness was a cause that matters so much to me. Although I haven’t been involved in NAMI-NYC directly before, I am a big believer in everything the organization does with education and awareness.