2019 TCS New York City Marathon Team

NAMI-NYC is proud to be a charity partner of the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon!

We have currently filled all of our spots and are no longer taking applications.

Learn more about our 2019 TCS New York City Marathon NAMI-NYC Runs Team.

Margaret Rooney

Why do you run?
I run to follow in my dad’s footsteps. My dad ran countless marathons, triathlons and even five Iron-man competitions. It was something my dad and I always did together growing up and for that reason, when I run, I feel like I am honoring him and making him proud!

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you?
Raising awareness about mental illness and NAMI-NYC is important to me because of the lived-experience aspect that is incorporated into all of this organization’s programs and services. It’s so important to talk to other people who have gone through this. It helps in knowing that what your feeling is okay. 

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC?
This will be my first marathon and I was planning of running with my dad. In January we suddenly lost my dad to suicide. My dad was only 56, happy, healthy, and athletic. There were absolutely no signs of depression, but I think deep down he may have been scared to admit how he was feeling due to the stigma around mental illness.  Before my dad died, mental health was never a priority in my family and now my mom, brother, sister and I speak openly about it and try the best we can to promote mental health in efforts to help people know it is okay to not be okay.

Amanda Shen

Why do you run? 
I’m a soon-to-be physical therapist and have always been active, but didn’t start running until a few years ago. Since college, I have struggled with anxiety and running has been a chance for me to push myself and realize how important mental and physical health are. I never thought I’d be able to run a marathon, however when my sister presented this opportunity for us to run together, and to raise money for NAMI-NYC, I was so excited to go through this journey with her.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you?
This is my first marathon and I wanted to support an organization that is important to me. About three years ago (my junior year of college), my mental health took a turn. All of a sudden anxiety seemed to have full control over my life. It was a long battle that felt debilitating,as it interfered with my relationships and daily activities. Recovery was not and is not easy, as good mental health care and support is often expensive and difficult to find. The more we understand mental health, the better we can support those around us.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC?
I chose NAMI-NYC so I can can support those who are struggling with mental illness. Too many people struggle in silence and aren’t aware of the resources that can help them. NAMI-NYC’s mission is incredibly moving and I am proud to be running for them.

Charissa Qian

Why do you run?
To get people the mental health care they need. I work at Quartet Health, a company with a similar mission.  So many people don’t get the care they need because of access barriers (e.g., no insurance coverage), confusing processes to find care, internal & external stigma, lack of community, etc. My company is trying to solve some of these challenges, and NAMI-NYC is as well. I’m excited to support NAMI-NYC as an organization that’s trying to move the needle on so many of these issues.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you?
Advocating for mental health at work is one thing, but bringing this awareness into my personal life is another. It feels more intimidating, which is an issue. That’s why raising awareness about mental illness matters to me: I want to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Riding the coattails of my sister’s (Amanda Shen) strength, we’re trying to stop the stigma among our friends and family by sharing our stories.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC?
I’m really good at starting things, but not always at persevering. Running for NAMI-NYC is keeping me accountable as I train my physical, spiritual, and mental health, such that when the going gets tough — I keep running!

Jim Ruzich

Why do you run?
For my whole life, I have run as a way to clear my mind. However, this was never more the case than in August 2018. In late July, my wife Amanda and I found out we were expect our first child, but a month later experienced a miscarriage. Following this news, we spent weeks together in an effort to grow as a couple and move forward, which is not an easy task. During that time I decided to start running again, with the unwavering support of my wife. Runs that started at 2 miles kept intensifying, and so did the thought of running this marathon in honor of my wife and our “little buddy”. To me, a marathon is symbolic of life. Nothing that is worth having is easy and the training for my first marathon could not echo that more.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you?
I deal with anxiety and depression on a daily basis. In addition to myself, many family members and friends have been living with mental illness, but in silence. When my mental illness came to a head almost 5 years ago, I was lucky enough to have my then girlfriend, Amanda, in my life to stress the importance of getting help. During the next 5 years, I gained tools that allowed me to combat my anxiety on a daily basis, and spent hours becoming a truer version of myself. It was also during this time that I had the realization that I wanted to help others, and this is my first step in doing so.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC?
This is an amazing organization that does so much for mental health.  The more I thought about running this race during last fall and this winter, the more I knew I needed to run for NAMI-NYC in order to truly fulfill what I was looking to achieve. Knowing that every dollar I raise goes to help individuals and families living with mental illness in NYC is what motivates me to keep pushing in my runs. I am running for something bigger than myself.

Timmy Salit

Why do you run?
Running has always been a fun family tradition. My mom and her siblings grew up in the same town that my cousins and I grew up in, creating a legacy of our own. As a result, we all had the same cross country coach. I had the chance to run on the team with my brothers and cousins. Running has always brought us together and allowed us to share our joys and successes. After competing in high school, I had the opportunity to continue competing at the collegiate level while attending Fairfield University. Running has not only been a source of friendships and family tradition, but also a personal outlet as well.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you?
Mental health awareness has always been important to me. This past spring, I lost my best friend and cousin, Paddy. Since his death, it has been very important for me to raise awareness about mental illness in any way I can.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC?
I chose to run for NAMI-NYC to honor Paddy and his life.

James O’Brien

Why do you run?
Running has drastically changed my life in every way possible. Running helps me fight my depressive states and when I get passed them, they become my motivation during long training runs. For me, it’s the best form of therapy out there.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you?
I live with a mental health condition and therefore, I find it very important to do whatever I can to raise awareness and stop the stigma. The best thing I can do right now to stop the stigma is why my story and hope to make an impact.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC?
By running for an organization that I so closely align with, it gives me the opportunity to make a difference for those who aren’t as fortunate when it comes to receiving treatment and support when they need it. I’m beyond excited and grateful to be a part of this team and is actively supporting my mental health journey.

Stephanie Ibarra

Why do you run?
I run for my brother who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia two years ago. I am running with NAMI-NYC because I want to contribute to stopping the stigma.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you?
By talking about mental illness with my friends and family, it is my hope that more people in my network will become comfortable with talking about their experiences and seek the help they need. Personally, when I talk about my experience of mental illness (in regards to my brother), it helps me feel less anxious about it. Keeping my feelings in is hard than being vulnerable with my truth.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC?
I am running for NAMI-NYC in honor of my brother and because without the support NAMI has given my family, we wouldn’t be as strong and united as we are today.

Lewis Gilbert

Why do you run?
Many, many reason. I run to take some time out. I run to decompress after a stressful day. I run to explore new places and see new things, nature, cities, and people. I run to get places I want to go. I run to challenge myself – physically and mentally. I run because it feels good (and bad sometimes).

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you?
Raising awareness about mental illness matters to me because I’ve dealt with it first hand. I also lost a very close friend to mental illness. I want to be able to provide help and support for other people who are having a tough go of it and need emotional support. It is because of my phenomenal support system that has compelled me to be that for others.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC?
I strongly believe that NAMI-NYC is the best organization that directly supports not just individuals, but families as well, living with mental illness. I chose NAMI-NYC specifically because I wanted to be involved with a mental health organization that’s in my own backyard.

Bridget Jackson

Why do you run?
I run because it relieves the stress of my everyday life. At any given moment I have the power to lace up and hit the pavement. I run to celebrate, to feel empowered, and to release daily frustrations. Running makes me feel unstoppable and that I can take on any goal, no matter how difficult, and achieve it.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you?
Over the years, I meet or hear about so many people who have silently struggled with mental illness. Often times, it’s completely under the radar and the thought of publicly expressing the struggle is unspeakable. Fundraising is such a public act and through doing so, I get to provide the opportunity for the people in my network to hear about NAMI-NYC and get help.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC?
I chose to run for NAMI-NYC to support all those living with mental illness. At times when it feels like there is nothing I can do to help, I know I can lace up my sneakers and train for this marathon that supports thousands of individuals and families in New York City living with mental illness.

Matty Wieczorek

Why do you run?
Running helps me relieve tension and frustration. Very few forms of exercise make me feel as accomplished and satisfied as running does.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you?
Raising awareness about mental illness matters to me because many people close to me are living with mental illness.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC?
I chose to run for NAMI-NYC because it’s an incredible organization designed to end the stigma associated with mental illness. The fact that my fundraising goes directly to NAMI-NYC’s free programs and services makes me feel hopeful.

Kimberly Murphy

Why do you run?
I run because I can. I run because it’s paradoxically head clearing and introspective. I run to get home from work, just as efficiently as public transport. I run to show myself how strong my body is and how much it can do. I run to combat stress and anxiety. I run to explore new places. I run to take in a good sunset. I run to reconnect with myself.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you?
Mental illness is still something largely misunderstood, and unfortunately still stigmatized. By raising awareness, my hope is to have conversations, give perspective and increase empathy for those around us. I am raising awareness in honor of my cousin Michael who we lost too soon.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC?
NAMI-NYC is an organization close to my family- with members actively participating across different chapters in the United States. Fundraising for NAMI-NYC is a way for me to play a small role in mental health awareness in New York City, and support a local organization, where I can have a true impact.

Grace Chou

Why do you run?
I run because it makes me stronger, both physically and mentally. It instills a positive energy in me that comes solely from myself, without having to rely on anyone or anything else. As cliche as it may sound, running has made me much more appreciative of all that life has to offer – it keeps me in check and moves me forward, in all possible ways.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you?
There is an endless number of important causes and issues for us to contribute to in this day and age. For me, mental illness stands out among them because despite how common it is, it’s still not discussed in the same way as other debilitating illnesses and conditions. Having personally been in a dark place and know many loved ones who have as well, I want to encourage more open conversations about mental health that are judgement and stigma-free.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC?
Although it was the focus on mental illness that first drew me to NAMI-NYC, its variety of services – all free of charge – are what made the difference. I had attended one of NAMI-NYC’s young adult support group classes and didn’t know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by how open, safe, and respectful the environment was. I truly believe in the power NAMI-NYC’s programs have.

Allison Schwab

Why do you run?
During high school and college, I competed in various sports including gymnastics, cheerleading, and snowboarding. A year after graduating from college, I started running as a way to challenge myself. I completed my first 5k in March 2018, my first half marathon in May 2018, and from there I was hooked. By May 2019, I had completed  The 2019 TCS Marathon will be my first full marathon and I’m so excited.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you?
I am a fourth-year clinical psychology doctoral student. I have worked as a therapist in a community mental health center, a state psychiatric hospital, and I will be working at a university counseling center this upcoming academic year. In both my personal and professional life, I have seen how much stigma gets in the way of people seeking therapy when they are struggling and I hope to continue to work to normalize therapy as a form of routine self-care for all!

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC?
I appreciate NAMI-NYC’s efforts to make psychoeducation, support groups, and other services accessible to many who would not otherwise be able to access care. I am thrilled to support free and low-cost mental health care initiatives while getting to be part of a community of like-minded runners!

Official Charity Partner of the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon