When we started the TWLOHA Run For It 5k last year, one of our hopes was to hear stories. We wanted to know what inspired participants, their passions, why they connect with TWLOHA, and ultimately, what were they running for? When we began organizing and planning for the 2014 run, our bookkeeper Janet proposed the idea of a virtual run, so we could expand this local event to all of our supporters around the world. Because of that idea, we’ve really been able to see the heart of this event: the people taking part in it.
As the Director of Fundraising at TWLOHA, one of my favorite things is learning why someone wants to fundraise for us. Often it’s in memory of a loved one or a way to celebrate recovery. Everyone has a unique story to share, and sometimes supporters use our fundraising platform to do that. For 2014, both Satellite Beach runners and virtual runners have been asked to join our fundraising efforts by creating an online fundraising page through StayClassy. We wanted this to be another way they could support TWLOHA and get the people in their life involved with something they are already passionate about. We weren’t sure if people would make pages or raise any funds, but right now we have nearly 70 pages and over $5,000 raised. Our team has been humbled by this effort.
Below are just a few of the incredible stories we’ve learned of:
Emily is Miss Sunrise Side’s Outstanding Teen 2013, and her platform advocated for changing the stigma of mental health.
Caroline struggled with depression, anxiety, and self-harm for years and finds TWLOHA as a source of hope and inspiration.
Sarah is participating to raise awareness for all of the mental illnesses out there.
Alessia is running because she believes knowledge has the power to change the way mental health is viewed.
Andrew lost his mother to alcoholism and is running in her memory, as well as his father’s 17-year commitment to sobriety.
Chad is a part of the TWLOHA team—and is getting married on race day, but is running in Satellite as a way to honor his bride, his family, and our supporters.
xFord is running for his two uncles and all those who have lost their lives to suicide.
Ahna has chosen to run for her friends who have struggled with self-injury and for herself, as a healthy coping mechanism.
BB knows, sometimes, it’s one day at a time.
Megan will be running for those lost too soon and everyone working toward recovery.
Vickie is running in memory of her sister, Stephanie, who died by suicide.
There are many more stories and reasons why people are joining our Run For It 5k here in Florida and around the world. You can read about the other 70+ fundraisers here. We also want to say a big thank you to everyone who has already contributed. Your generosity allows us to continue the work we do. Every dollar donated goes directly toward the TWLOHA mission.
We want you to be a part of this, and there are still ways you can get involved. You can join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram with the #RunForIt5k hashtag, make a donation to someone’s fundraising page, or sign up to run here in Florida or as a virtual runner. And if you aren’t able to make a contribution or participate in the run, we hope you’ll consider sharing someone’s fundraising page with those in your life, either through an email, tweet, or Facebook post to help us get the word out.
However you’re able to participate in or support the 5k, we are moved by everyone sharing their story and using their voice to speak up about mental health in their local communities.