I walk for myself and my family. Growing up was not exactly easy, as I was an only child and would often visit my cousins during the summer. It was not as happy as it sounded. They were so awful to me - to the point where I believed what I thought was what everyone thought: that feeling so bad, because of them, was the standard. It took me meeting other people who have the same thoughts and were diagnosed with mental illnesses to discover that was not the truth. They began to help me and talked to me about what I was feeling so they could tell me what helped them.
I want other kids who are experiencing signs or symptoms of a mental illness to know what they are and how they can talk about them so they aren’t going through life unaware that they can get help. I’m not the only person I walk for either. I walk for my uncle, who lost his life to suicide at 43-years-old and his younger self who, at times, felt so worthless he would only eat yogurt for weeks at a time. I walk for the countless friends, who I call family, that have depression, anxiety and struggle through their day-to-day lives. I walk in the hope that everyone who is struggling with their mental health can get the help they need. Awareness and hope are why I walk.
Member of Youth & Young Adult Committee