It’s mere hours from walk time on Sunday.  All of our ducks are in a row. We have fantastic staff and wonderful volunteers ready to take on the walk route. Along with the stigma that we all face for our friends, our loved ones and ourselves, we have the power to make immense change in the world.

We all have stories. We all have lives that have been touched by the chaos that is mental illness. We all see the success stories of other walks and other organizations gaining momentum, helping those in need.

But this is different.

Cancer patients are not treated as criminals. Sufferers of ALS, Muscular Distrophy and even AIDS are not denied care because their maladies are not believed. Nobody tells someone undergoing chemotherapy to “shake it off – just get over it.” Mental illness is unique in its total ability to ruin someone’s world.

Be that change.  One, singular action – walking on Sunday, donating to support NAMI, or volunteering to help – can change the world for someone.

Come to the walk on Sunday.  Sign up by going to http://www.nami.org/namiwalks/OR and spread the word. And after the walk, continue your support of NAMI and the people we help. There is no more important job for us than to stomp out the stigma suffered by those with mental illness, and to, some day, have the perfect solution for those who suffer. Just like everyone else, we’re just wishing for a cure.

Rachel Chereck Petzold
NAMI Oregon Board Member
Nami Walk Volunteer Coordinator & Walker on Wards Walkers