For the first time in two years, the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will be back Saturday, Sept. 18, in person for the annual NAMIWalk at Veterans Memorial Park, Bettendorf.
Pre-Walk activities — including booths, live music, dog tent, face painting, and team photos — begin at 8 a.m., and a 5k Walk begins at 9:30 a.m. along the bike path. Last year, in 2020, the NAMIWalk was “virtual” — with supporters doing their own activities, raising around $70,000.
This year, there are 84 teams and 700 people registered currently, and NAMI Greater Mississippi Valley is expecting a little over 1,000 people altogether, development manager Christina McNamara-Schmidt said Friday. The original goal for 2021 was $120,000; stretch goal was $135,000, and they already have raised $129,000, she said.
Many participants will meet at Veterans Memorial Park, but if unable, they can:
- Walk 7,000+ steps for a 5K their way
- Plan a craft day with their kids
- Hold a virtual bake-off with their team
- Practice self-care with a favorite hobby: yoga, gardening, knitting
- Do a 5K on the treadmill or stationary bike
- Create a safe and socially distanced stroll in their neighborhood
NAMI recommends that you take photos and videos, and share your activity on favorite social media with the link to your walk fundraising page and the hashtag #NotAlone.
Before the pandemic, in any given year, one in five people in the United States reported having a mental health condition. Mental health experts suggest the figure is now two in five, or even higher, according to NAMI. The walks are aimed to bring together hundreds of people to raise mental health awareness and funds.
Saturday, due to the ongoing effects of Covid-19, NAMI is offering both an in-person and virtual version of its NAMIWalks event.
“It has been 18 months since the pandemic upended our lives with feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, and isolation,” said Christina McNamara-Schmidt, NAMI GMV development and walk Manager. “We have all been impacted in some way. Even as we are isolated geographically, we can be united in our common goal of Mental Health for All and ensure no one in our community feels alone,” she added.
To join NAMIWalks Your Way, visit namiwalks.org/greatermississippivalley. There is no registration fee, but fundraising is encouraged. Registration is also available on-site Saturday, and donations will be collected. One hundred percent of funds raised support NAMI GMV’s free mental health education and support programs designed to help families work toward recovery.
NAMI GMV is part of the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.