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By Leilani Lee. October 25, 2013 - 11:29 am
As of Oct. 3, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Walks Hawaii raised $37,362 of its $100,000 fundraising goal this year.
NAMI Walks Hawaii donates all its proceeds to NAMI Hawaii, a program focused on supporting the mentally ill and their families through education and advocacy.
Nami Walks Hawaii and NAMI Hawaii are part of NAMI, which is the nation’s largest grassroots organization.
NAMI defines mental illness as a “medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning.”
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in a given year approximately one quarter of American adults (61.5 million) are diagnosed with one or more mental disorders.
In order to meet this year’s goal, NAMI Walks Hawaii hosted its fourth annual 3K walk, which place Oct. 5 at the Honolulu Hale Civic Grounds.
According to Kathleen Hasegawa, executive director of NAMI Walks Hawaii, nearly 600 people participated in this year’s event.
“We are a very small organization but we try to be a power house and we do that by having so many wonderful volunteers,” she said, adding that she is heartened that the event can touch so many lives.
A few sponsors of the event were Kaiser Permanente, The Queen’s Medical Center, Castle Medical Center, Aloha Care, Kahi Mohala Behavioral Health, Grace Pacific and Altres.
McKinley High School cheerleaders volunteered to keep walkers motivated by offering encouraging words throughout the 3K course.
A performance by Koolau Clubhouse band members, along with food booths and a bouncy house kept attendees of all ages happy and entertained.
Of the many participants HPU’s psychology club, Jay Walkers and Mental Health Kokua were a few who supported the cause.
Jay Walkers were the top team raising a total of $13,050. Within their team were the top two individual donators: Skipper ($2,500) and Cheryl Sakamoto ($2,095).
Darrell Edelhoff, residential assistant at Mental Health Kokua said, it is beneficial for Safe Havens’ residents to branch out and touch base with people outside of their facilities.
“People are encouraged to respectively give and take to support society and share with others who they are, whether it is through dance, music, or conversation,” he added. “These are interpretations of life that deserve to be heard and seen and accepted and the walk symbolized companionship and compassion for a culture waiting to be embraced.”
So far 483 people have made donations. The organization’s fundraising goal is $100,000 this year, and NAMI Walks Hawaii is only 37 percent of the way there.
Donations are accepted until Nov. 31.
Photos courtesy of NAMI Hawaii at namihawaii.org