As if having a serious mental illness wasn’t bad enough, the life expectancy for people with diseases like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder is 10-25 years shorter than average.
My own brother TJ died at age 21. He took his own life, which is not uncommon, but if he had lived, his risk of having heart disease, cancer, or diabetes would have been much higher due to his illness. The organization I work for, Fountain House, has partnered with the World Health Organization to find out why and how people with serious mental illness can end the epidemic of early mortality.
One thing we already know is that exercise can improve a person’s mental and physical health. God knows it’s helped me. I actually started running eight years ago to help me deal with the stress of taking care of TJ and the anger, sadness, and anxiety I felt because there was so little I could do to help him.
Fountain House created the One-in-Four 5K a few years ago in effort to get people moving and raise awareness about the prevalence of mental illness. I am very proud to have my own team this year, in honor of my brother TJ. He wasn’t exactly a runner, but he did love wearing PF Flyers and I think he’d be psyched to know there is a team running in his name.
I’d love for you to join or support the TJ Flyers. All you have to do is sign-up and meet me in Riverside Park in NYC on April 9th— or donate. I set the goal for $210-- $10 for each year he lived. We've already surpassed that goal! Now, I'd love to raise $10 for each year he should have had with us. You can sign-up or donate on the TJ Flyer team page. Thanks so much.