Our NAMIWalks 2019 was held on May 11 at the University of Toledo Medical Center. This year, we raised $80,000!
NAMI Greater Toledo is part of the national NAMI organization which helps to get rid of the stigmatization of mental health. At NAMI, talking about mental health isn’t taboo. It is a safe place where you can speak freely about how you are doing. People in the Toledo community are given these opportunities through our educational classes, support groups and more.
This year at NAMIWalks, approximately 1000 people came out to fight mental health stigma. Before the walk began, there were numerous vendor tables from the Toledo area that either help with mental health or were just coming out to support. These included American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, A Renewed Mind, Arrowhead Behavioral Health, Buckeye Health Plan, Costco, Lundbeck, Midwest Recovery/Detox Center, Millennium Health, Rescue Mental Health and Addiction Services, Still Waters Yoga, Thomas M. Wernert Center and Unison Health.
There were many activities for walkers to participate in. One of the popular games was the wheel. For one dollar you could spin the wheel once or for five dollars you could spin it three times. Some prizes included a NAMI beanie, gift cards, a NAMI tumblr and so much more.
Another fun activity that people enjoyed was “Pie in the Face.” For any dollar amount, walkers could slam a whipped cream pie in the face of anyone they chose. It caught the attention of many onlookers and entertained everyone before the walk began. Other activities at the walk included putt-putt, a bouncy slide, 50/50 raffle, and a dog station for people to feed their pooches before they began the mile and half trek around the medical campus.
When the NAMI Walk began at 10:00 a.m., all of the participants funneled through the tunnel by Mulford Library at UTMC. Before stepping foot in the tunnel, walkers were given a white flag that said, “I Am Forgotten No More.”
After the walk, participants came back to the starting line for the 50/50 raffle and prize drawings. For every $50 walkers raised, they received one entry for some big prizes, including a handmade quilt, trip to a bed and breakfast in Michigan and an all-inclusive trip to Las Vegas. Other prizes included a birthday package at the Tam-O-Shanter in Sylvania, a Sky Zone package and hand-blown glass bowl from the Toledo Museum of Art. We would like to thank our donors for these prizes. We could not have been able to give away such amazing packages without their help.
NAMIWalks would not be possible without the support of donors like you. If you haven’t had a chance to give this year, you can do it right now! We thank you and hope you continue to help us help those living with mental illness in your community.
Brooke is a third year student at the Ohio State University with an anticipated graduation of May 2020. She is majoring in Strategic Communication and double-minoring in Professional Writing and Nonprofit Studies. She is the current marketing/PR intern for NAMI Greater Toledo.