Why do I walk? I am a consumer in recovery with Bipolar Disorder. I walk for friends, family and all whose lives have been touched with a mental illness. I walk to help raise awareness of these illnesses.

I also walk because I once considered myself a throw-away in the Oregon State Hospital. When I was at my lowest, my friends and family never gave up on me and I walk to honor them and myself, as I now know I am not a throw-away, but a valuable member of society. I am a mother, friend, neighbor, sister, and an artist. I am a person first and my mental illness does not define who I am.

I walk because, thanks to NAMI, I am now able to help others through NAMI with volunteer work. I walk for NAMI’s education programs: Peer-to-Peer Recovery Education Program, Family-to-Family and In Our Own Voice: Living With A Mental Illness. I walk for NAMI’s support groups: NAMI Connections, Family, Peer, and other support groups that are given at local NAMI affiliates, such as Anxiety Society, Schizophrenia Support, Garden Tenders, Guitar, Art, Writing and Stiches, (depending on each local affiliate).

I walk for the patients who are in the Oregon State Hospital, as I know that, if given the opportunity, they can recover and lead a full, productive life.

– Susan