One quarter of our population is diagnosed with a mental illness, at an average age of 23, yet we ignore it, even though it is the largest category of illness in this country. We have an opportunity to do better.
Hawthorne, CA (PRWEB) February 16, 2011
On October 2, 2010, Guy Fessenden began his trek with 'toes in the ocean' in Savannah, Georgia and as of February 17, 2011, completed 99 marathon runs, as part of his goal to complete 100 marathons in 140 days. He is running for a life, Suzanne's, who is schizophrenic, and all the others who suffer from mental illness. Details of the run, as well as the route and media coverage along the way, can be found at http://www.facebook.com/afathersjourney or http://www.afathersjourney.org.
Guy Fessenden noted: "With the completion of 99 marathons to date, though difficult and brutal on the human body, the human spirit is thriving. My journey is nothing compared to the arduous and painful journey and battles people with mental illness face every day. It hasn't been easy. I have dealt with bad weather, heat, blisters, lost toenails, had chest pain from oxygen poisoning from higher altitudes, migraine headaches, blurred vision from head-on winds for two weeks, and two broken bones in my right foot. But it has been less than Suzanne deals with on a daily basis, and does so with dignity and grace. I am proud that she is my daughter."
With 99 marathons in 138 days complete, Guy Fessenden's odyssey, called A Father's Journey, will finish on Saturday, February 19 at the Santa Monica Pier. The public is welcome to join him and run the last mile to speak out against the stigma of mental illness and to join him for this triumphant finish by meeting at 2600 Barnard Way, Santa Monica, Parking Lot 5 at 3pm.
Says Fessenden: "We did not start out with this as a goal of my journey, it developed organically over the past four months. People started following what I am doing and want to join in adding their voice to mine. Now, instead of me finishing along on February 19, I will be joined by many people who have someone in their life who suffers from a mental illness, and who want to help end the stigma of this horrible and devastating illness."
Fessenden adds: " I have realized that the last mile represents many things to other people and symbolizes their personal journey. For a person who has been diagnosed with a mental illness, it represents doing something public to speak out against the stigma, to say that I won't be made to feel ashamed of my illness and have to try to hide it from society. For the family member of someone who is mentally ill, it is running a mile to show support for them, to show that they are loved and cared about, and that they matter. People who have lost a family member from mental illness have also told me that they will be running the mile in the memory of those who have passed.
"This is an informal event, if you want to run more you can, if you want to not run at all but show support at the finish line, that's great. The importance is that when I finish, you join me in taking your shoes off and putting your toes in the ocean. That's where the journey ends in one way, and starts in another."
Here are the stats as of February 17, 2011:
99 marathons in 138 days. Total mileage: 2,594 miles Calories burned: 376,000 calories. Steps taken: 4,455,000.
This Suzanne Fessenden Run For A Life Marathon is made possible with the help of the Green Armada, a Tampa, Florida based 501 (c)(3) non-profit group that helps other non-profit organizations succeed. Green Armada is dedicated to making the world a more beautiful place. Green Armada promotes clean air, water, land - and empowers people to make a difference by raising awareness to environmental issues and organizing eco-friendly events for thousands of volunteers to take action. Together, Guy and the Green Armada are raising awareness to mental illness. Guy's journey will remind us to appreciate the world around us and care for it just as we would our child.
Barry Kluger barry(at)barrykluger(dot)com 480-703-8135
Guy Fessenden guy(dot)fessenden(at)gmail(dot)com 914-815-1886