I joined the Walk so long ago I can’t remember how old I was, but I believe I was seven. I was glued to Mom’s hip, but eventually was brought out of my shell to pull T-shirts for the walkers. I remember it to be fun and exciting and how it made me feel good to be a participant. I continued to help Mom until I was old enough (and trusted enough) to work with Andrew Meier. Andy was in charge of everything physical it seemed, so naturally I was in.

I remember we had to pull sign posts for registration that were eight foot pieces of wood concreted into pickle buckets. He and I set up signs in the park for all our volunteers and walkers to enjoy and hopefully not get lost. Andy also taught me the importance of being able to find the donuts on Walk day.

I made it back for a couple of Walks in college, but once I moved back to Raleigh permanently, I took over for Andy. Now I help manage tables and chairs for vendors and registration, set out signs and see to some rest stop needs. I also manage the cones that go out on Glenwood Avenue to protect all our wonderful walkers.

The wonderful work of the Foundation of Hope keeps me coming back year after year. It is a long couple of days, but it’s truly rewarding knowing that even through a hurricane, the Foundation and its volunteers stand strongly behind their mission. Mental health continues to need radical and legitimate help in its research efforts. I feel stronger knowing that the Foundation will not give up until real cures and treatments are found.

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