Thursday, June 26, 2008

Biking for Mental Health

**UPDATE** "So far I've made it through the mountains of Oregon. That was harrowing, screaming down the hills at 40 miles an hour. Now we're onto Idaho, which I hope will be a bit less aggressive."

Go, Sandy! Please go to her homepage to donate. I used to think that my family was involved in this battle along. In my new journey, thought, I've encountered the fact that almost everyone either knows someone or is related to someone or has some mental illness. I recently read the fact that more than twice the number of AIDS patients have schizophrenia. And yet we publicly "know" very little about the illness & it certainly isn't on the public's agenda.

Sandy Derecktor is raising funds for mental health by biking this summer. I met her recently at a NAMI meeting. She is a Portsmouth high school teacher living in Newport.

She is trying to raise $10,000 for NAMI & promote the passage of parity for mental health issues on the federal level (thank you, Rep. Kennedy). This is a great nationwide organization with a local here in Rhode Island. A finer group of helpful, knowledgeable people you'll never meet.

-Sandy Derecktor, a high school English teacher in Rhode Island, is biking 3,600 miles across the US this summer in an effort to promote awareness in the workplace and schools against the stigma of mental illnesses. She is also trying to promote the passage of two mental health parity bills now in the U.S. Congress.-"I see so many of my students whose parents can no longer afford the medication and therapy for their kids. I really see the difference academically
with the kids who get treatment."

She is traveling with a cycling group (and her daughter, too, I think) from N.H. to Ore. Sandy has suffered from mental health issues herself. She started June 15th. Please go to her donation page.
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