2018 United Airlines NYC Half Team

Learn more about our inaugural NAMI-NYC Runs Team.

Feel free to support any team member by donating to their page. Thank you!


LaurenWhy do you run? I run for many reasons. I run for exercise. I run for fitness. I run for quiet time with my thoughts. I run for the feeling of strength and accomplishment when I am done. I run for cheap therapy. I run to provide healthy examples to my daughters. I run for the fun races I do with my friends. I run to escape reality. I run to be alone (sometimes).

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? Raising awareness for mental illness is personal to me. Both my husband and I have witnessed mental illness with people close to us. We’ve watched special people in our lives battle with different mental illnesses. People are not always willing to share the stories or struggles they face. People need to know that they are not alone. It is ok to have these feelings, thoughts and emotions, but it is not ok to go through them alone. By raising money, I feel I’m also raising awareness within my community.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? In October I decided that I wanted to run the NYC Half Marathon again. However, I did not want to gain my entry through the lottery system — I only wanted to raise money for a mental health charity. When the charity names were released, I saw NAMI-NYC, and I was instantly pulled to them. I loved that it was local, worked with families and individuals that suffer with mental illness. I literally put all of my eggs in NAMI-NYC’s basket and hoped that I was chosen for their inaugural run this March.

Click here to support Lauren’s fundraising efforts.


JohnWhy do you run? Running helps me clear my head, and it is a social thing for me. My wife and I have a group of close friends who have run together for years. We always say when we run out of things to talk about on our long runs we’ll stop running. But so far it’s a four-season joy. I ran seven miles during one of the coldest days of January to start getting ready for the NYC Half. It’s fun, it’s a challenge, and it’s exciting. I urge people to start running for physical health and mental health as well.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? NAMI’s work is vitally important to me and to my family. I believe in paying forward to others all of the value NAMI-NYC has added to my life. As a volunteer teacher of NAMI’s Family-to-Family class I see family members gain a strong sense of control back over their lives, and I am proud to help them learn to empathize and communicate better with their loved ones.

Why do you run for NAMI-NYC? I believe the paralyzing stigma associated with disorders of the brain can be wiped out — and the sooner the better. The more we as a community share our stories, the more it enables those living in isolation and fear to take that first step to reach out for services, to support each other, and to become advocates. Running for NAMI-NYC is my way of fighting for a society that respects the struggles of people with mental illness and their families, and of building a supportive community that works compassionately to find solutions.

Click here to support John’s fundraising efforts.


KateWhy do you run? I find all exercise is a great outlet for stress and helps clear the mind. Even though I’m not normally a “runner,” I’ve found that when I run for a purpose, the struggle and pain of the workouts and actual race are less and less.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? Mental illness runs in my family, but it wasn’t until I turned 25 that anxiety/depression affected me. The shame and guilt I felt because I thought I needed (or wanted) to hide this secret was terrible. I thought it made me weaker and made me less desirable as an employee. Since then, I’ve realized a) how many people there are with anxiety/depression issues and b) to give myself a break. No matter what—mental illness should not be some deep, dark secret.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? I chose to run for NAMI-NYC because of their dedication to education on the topic as well as their focus on the support system. Often times we forget how much our own mental illness affects those around us who can only helplessly look on.

Click here to support Kate’s fundraising efforts.

Jeannie Vieve

Jeannie VieveWhy do you run? I run to stay active and healthy. Being a type 2 diabetic, it’s important for me to stay active in order to help control my blood sugars. I also run to help inspire others around me to be active. Running gives me a sense of peace when I’m out there on my own. I am always busy, especially with my 11-year old son, so running is part of my “me time” to take care of myself.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? Recently, a good family friend was diagnosed with having mental illness, and it hurt a lot because nobody had known that he had been having problems until it was too late. Those with mental illness need people to believe in them and be their support system when they cannot help themselves. By raising awareness, others might be able to get help sooner rather than later, or some might be able to help others that might not even realize that they need help. Raising awareness can bring help sooner to those in need, including their families.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? I chose to run for NAMI-NYC to help others who need the same kind of love and support that my friend needs.

Click here to support Jeannie Vieve’s fundraising efforts.


DavidWhy 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.

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


Lindsay WheelerWhy do you run? Suffering from major depression in high school, I only came to associate running with stress and anxiety. I was a lacrosse and ice hockey player at a highly-competitive school, and running was always used as a form of punishment by my coaches. Once at Middlebury College, I began to run for myself and was surprised to find myself loving it; it suddenly served as a great outlet for me. I began to run for me, and competed in a series of half marathons. At the time, I also suffered from an eating disorder, and running posed an opportunity to overcome negative thoughts and adopt healthier habits. In 2014, I went public with my diagnoses and began my journey as a mental illness survival writer. Running was a means to which I could raise both money and awareness about important causes, while also finding great joy in writing about my own experience. That fall, I ran the New York City Marathon for an on-campus mental health organization called GROW. Running through the boroughs with champions of varied age, ability, and background was one of the most inspiring experiences of my life.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? Since 2014, I have been a mental illness survival writer, striving to challenge readers to consider depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, PTSD, and survival through a new lens. I am currently writing a memoir in which I consider my own experience with mental illness and inherited mental illness in families of war. I weave humor and everyday anecdotes throughout, demanding that readers consider mental illness as an (sometimes-invisible) affliction which chooses blindly. I fight stigma unapologetically and with radical transparency, owning my diagnosis publicly and detailing how accepting myself as a work in progress has translated into survival. I will be attending Columbia University in the fall to pursue my passions for mentoring other sufferers and lobbying for policy change. You can find my writing at www.lswheeler.com.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? I chose to run for NAMI-NYC because I have developed a close relationship with the organization over the years and have great respect for what those behind it do every day. In November, 2017, I spoke at NAMI New York State’s Education Conference in Albany, on using creativity to advance recovery. I first connected with NAMI through this advocacy, and built a relationship which stemmed from a mutual goal to address mental illness as a public health problem. During NAMI’s 2017 National Convention in Washington D.C., I lobbied on Capitol Hill and spoke to senators and congressmen about why improvements to mental healthcare are crucial. This experience shed light on new avenues through which our work and dedication to these issues could improve the lives of those living with a mental health condition. I love NAMI and am honored to represent! (And we’re so glad to have you!)

Click here to support Lindsay’s fundraising efforts.


DeniseWhy do you run? I like the mental and physical challenge of running. I always dread it before I start but I never regret it afterwards. It is also a great and free way for me to get some exercise in!

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? I realized that though mental illness has affected people I know, I personally have limited knowledge and want to learn more about how I can support them. Rather than continuing to treat it as a taboo subject, I hope to raise awareness about mental illness for myself and others.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? I chose to run for NAMI-NYC because I am very grateful for what the organization does for the NYC community. There’s people like me with a lot of questions, and NAMI-NYC doesn’t just provide one-time informational support — they guide you through the journey together.

Click here to support Denise’s fundraising efforts.