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The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) hosted almost 1500 walkers this year at the Marina Park event. As the presenting sponsor, Fairfax Hospital offered financial support and team spirit to this year’s Walk. Team Fairfax was the lead off team at this year’s 2011 NAMI Walk in Kirkland, Washington, with 80 participants signed up. Led by Fairfax psychiatrist Ioana Diaconu, MD, Team Fairfax exhibited enthusiasm, community spirit and the drive to raise funds for this 7th Annual NAMI Walk.
While donations are still coming in, over $260,000 has been raised through the efforts of over 40 sponsors and the multitude of walkers who garnered individual donations. This is $100,000 more than last year’s walk generated.
Walk Committee Chair John Hughes added, “raising public awareness works best when support and advocacy groups come together with providers and a supportive community. By working with Fairfax Hospital, we are associated with a premier provider devoted to innovative and compassionate behavioral health services.”
Fairfax was honored to lead the effort to raise awareness and to help fight the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Fairfax continues to host a monthly NAMI Parent Support Group meeting. NAMI Washington President, Farrell Adrian, said, “Fairfax is a natural partner in our mission to improve the quality of life of those affected by mental illness.”
NAMI is the largest education, support and advocacy organization that serves the needs of all whose lives are touched by mental illness. This includes persons with mental illness, their families, friends, employers, the law enforcement community and policy makers. The goals of the NAMI Walk are to fight the stigma that surrounds mental illness, to build awareness of the fact that the mental health system in this country needs to be improved, and to raise funds for NAMI so that they can continue their mission.
This year’s event took place in a downtown city setting for the first time with participants walking from Kirkland’s Marina Park along the picturesque shores of Lake Washington to Carillon Point. The City of Kirkland proclaimed May 14th as Mental Health Awareness Day in support of this event. Fairfax employees, their family members and friends wore brightly colored Fairfax/NAMI Walk T-shirts as they led the walkers along the 5K route. Michael Uradnik, COO of Fairfax, addressed the crowd at the beginning of the walk to offer thanks and encouragement to providers and participants—and to NAMI for the continued support of their services to the community at large.