GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — When Sheri Shimmel’s daughter started struggling with her mental health at age 13, the family took part in a walk to benefit Hope Network.
“We saw all the runners and were like ‘we want that. We want all of that.’ And so I started training,” said Shimmel. “It’s been a journey.”
Shimmel’s family isn’t alone on that mental health journey. That’s the idea behind the One in Five Marathon Relay.
“Whether it’s your neighbor, a colleague, a co-worker, yourself, your family. Everyone knows someone. Mental illness is the most underrated health and social epidemic world-wide. And the numbers prove it. One in five adults will face mental illness this year,” said Jason Madden, Executive Director of the Hope Network Foundation.
Friday at twilight, teams of five will take on 26.2 miles at Millenium Park in Walker by sharing the work.
Four members will run five miles each. One will run 6.2.
Kym Matthews will be there. She says she struggled with panic attacks and anxiety for years alone.
“You’ll see me struggle but you won’t see me give up. And that’s what I want people to know, that we can struggle and it’s ok to struggle,” said Matthews.
Taking part in past One in Five events has empowered her to talk about it — and see she’s not alone.
“There’s my people out there. It just made me more and more want to say ‘I struggle. And raise your hand if you’re with me,'” said Matthews.
Hope Network provides mental health and a wide variety of services to thousands of people around the state. Money raised Friday night will ensure there will be many more pictures of hope for families in Michigan.
You can still sign up to take park in the One in Five Marathon Relay as a team or a single runner. Use the code LASTCHANCE21 for $10 off registration.