2019 United Airlines NYC Half Team

Learn more about our NAMI-NYC Runs Team.

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

Scott

2019UnitedHalfTeam_Scott-K
Why do you run? I have found a love and passion for running. It releases my feel-good endorphins that take my mind off of my worries that help with my depression.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? On September 13, 1998, my mother had suddenly passed away from a rare liver disease. The start of Middle School was such an excruciating and challenging experience. At the time when I needed structure, stability, guidance and support; it was no longer there. My father had suffered from several physical ailments, which forced my sister and me to live with a succession of families within our community. Throughout the years, I have been blessed to create life-long friendships that quickly formed my circle of support.

In 2011, it all caught up to me. I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I knew I hit rock bottom when I was sitting on my sister’s couch and I had nowhere to go. I stopped caring about the things that were so important to me- family, friends, and my health. Luckily, for me, my sister Arnell worked as a medical professional in the mental health field. She knew all the signs and symptoms were there and checked me into St. Benedictine Hospital of Kingston NY (now known as WHC- Health Alliance Hospital). I found myself in an outpatient partial hospitalization program that lasted 29 days. I had a treatment team that consisted of family, nurses, doctors, social workers, therapists, and board-certified psychiatrists. I was put on numerous amounts of different anti-depressants and mood stabilizers to see what worked best for me. The days before I was released from the hospital, I met with my treatment team and I was formally diagnosed with bi-polar depression. Looking back for me, all the signs over the years were evident. I have had feelings of extreme highs (manic episodes) to extreme lows (depressive episodes) for years and years. Having a lot of energy, risky behavior, lavish spending of money, feeling down, hopeless, worried, and even suicidal were symptoms that I felt invisible of.

Depression is real. It is a chemical imbalance of certain brain chemicals that were brought on by possible genetics or even family history.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC?I run for NAMI-NYC because I was lucky enough to have the love and support from so many of you. The funds that are raised will go to individuals who suffer from mental illness but who aren’t as lucky as I was to have that support cast. They will receive free treatment, education and most importantly, their own support cast. My goal is to raise over $2,000, which will essentially help over 16,000 people in New York. More importantly, I am hopeful that my story has an impact on you, or someone you know that has signs or symptoms of a mental illness that has a challenge with the three hardest words someone will ever say… “I need help”.

Click here to support Scott’s fundraising efforts.

John

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.

Doron

Why do you run? I started running because I really felt like I needed to consistently do some cardio exercise – all I was really doing was a lot of regular walking. Running is actually the easiest for me, because it need virtually no equipment, I can do it anywhere, and I can just walk outside of my house and go (that’s a big timesaver!). But now, I do it has become my meditation. It is my time to go off on my own, and go wherever my mind takes me. And I sure feel accomplished after. It has morphed from being for my physical wellbeing into being for my physical and mental wellbeing.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? To help get rid of the stigma! So many people suffer from mental illness, and it should be viewed and understood as an illness that empathy, care and attention — and looked down upon. The sooner we all recognize the impact of mental illness, and do not hide behind it, the sooner we make progress. I’ve known so many people who suffer/have suffered from mental illness, and there so often seems to be some reticence to communicate about it that is not seen with physical illness.

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC? Running for NAMI-NYC seems like a great way to bring attention to the cause, and bring $$ too. So many illnesses get a lot of focus and resources – like cancer – and they should! But mental illness is so prevalent in our society, and does not get the same treatment. (Case in point, just look at how many organizations relating to physical diseases and the like are involved with a NYRR Half Marathon Team, compared to mental illness). So I’ve chosen to run for NAMI to both raise $$ and raise awareness.

Click here to support Doron’s fundraising efforts.

David

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.

Joe

Lindsay WheelerWhy do you run?  I run because I feel life is a gift  and precious which should be celebrated and running helps me do that. I have an attitude that says get the most out of yourself and life. Running, competing, and racing makes me a better person and constantly demands that I excel and improve.  There is also the common sense aspect of running that says take care of yourself and your health, for I plan and expect to live a long time.  Lastly, as someone who has been running solo for a long time, I’ve grown as a runner with a desire to compete and race.

Why does raising awareness about mental illness matter to you? First, my field of study and education is in psychology.  What better way to contribute to my discipline is broadening the public’s perception about mental illness to a better educated and more informed way of looking at the subject.  Also, breaking down barriers for people who may be shunned or mistreated  by the general public where they are not completely accepted in main stream society appeals to me.  When anyone is not loved, there is a problem.  There is the saying, “There but for the grace of God…” Could not any one of us at anytime be afflicted with mental illness and then not do anything about it?

Why did you choose to run for NAMI-NYC?  Because  volunteering for NAMI-NYC, and being part of the NAMI-NYC team has been a blast.  We come together a few times a year for events like the NYC Half and Marathon and raise a lot of money, make people feel good, and have a good time.  It brings joy to the more somber and serious moments when dealing with mental health challenges.  There also is the sense of a moral obligation to helping those who are afflicted in anyway.

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

Denise

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.