The following speech will be delivered at our August 26th, 2009 charity event.
"On July 25, 2006 our family transformed forever.
Chrissy left this world and with her she took a large part of our life ,but what she left was an awakening into the devastation of mental illness and the immediate need to fund the research to understand the brain, which in turn will contribute to the discovery of better treatments and cures for mental illness. Mental illness stole Chrissy from our family, and robbed the world of a compassionate, intelligent woman, and an exceptional human being whose only wish was to find peace of mind so she would be able to help others.
It’s too late for Chrissy, but it is not too late for the millions who continue to suffer daily, and along with their suffering, are the families and friends who stand by and helplessly, painfully watch their struggle.
In Sept 2006 when I contacted the National Mental Health Association in Washington D.C. asking for an organization into research, they immediately named Narsad: The Worlds Leading Charity dedicated to Mental Health Research. That day was the day our focus changed from victim to survivor and fighter.
As I look around this room today, I see faces of those who have opened their hearts and helped our family to fuel our passion. As we fundraise, we continue speaking with everyone and anyone who will listen, it’s our focus to tear down the stigmas of mental illness, and raise awareness for the needed research and compassion for those afflicted. Most of all, it is our promise to Chrissy that we would work so that you and your loved ones will never have to suffer this pain. It is our promise to the millions of people who suffer from these mental illnesses,that we will continue to knock on doors, tell Chrissy’s story, no matter how difficult it is, open people’s minds, hearts and even beg, if that’s what it takes, to raise the money that is needed!
Some of the sad facts are that:
-Nearly 60 million American adults suffer from a diagnosable mental health problem.
-Depression is the leading cause of disability for people aged 15 to 44.
-Suicide is the third leading cause of death in the WORLD
-More than 2/3 of adults and ½ of all children with a diagnosable mental disorder receive no mental health services.
-Mental illness has a greater impact in early death and lost years of productivity than all cancers combined, according to the World Health Organization.
NARSAD has made an increased commitment to highlight child and adolescent psychiatric disorders and early intervention efforts, as research has increasingly shown improved outcome with early intervention.
Childhood-onset psychiatric disorders supported by NARSAD include, but are not limited to, the following:
* Anxiety Disorders in Children
* Autism (including Asperger’s Syndrome)
* Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
* Bipolar Disorder in Children
* Childhood Depression
* Eating Disorders
* Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Children
* Childhood Schizophrenia
* Tourette’s Syndrome
If I may Paraphrase from the Narsad pamphlet:
RESEARCH IS THE SOLUTION- and the need for more research is critical. The last decade has seen great advances in the scientific understanding and treatment of psychiatric illnesses. Narsad investigators are improving the diagnosis of mental illnesses. They are involved in developing new medications and other, non-pharmacological treatments, such as brain stimulation techniques, psychotherapeutic approaches and cognitive rehabilitation.. We need to support more young researchers, and experienced researchers with creative, innovative ideas that may not receive government funding.
We are honored to work with such an organization as Narsad, whose dedication is inspiring, and I thank God for the researchers and the rest of the Narsad organization, who continue the work that will bring Chrissy’s Wish to life.
If it’s through Chrissy’s death that the world finds the answer to these illnesses, then I know our daughter did not die in vain. I pray she will guide the researchers and continue to give us the strength to make her dream a reality.
Today is not about Chrissy, but in memory of Chrissy. Today is about our future, your family & friends. Mario & I do continue this work for your son, your daughter, your mother, your father, your grandparents, your grandchildren, as well as all our future generations. The promise of our future depends on your donations. With your support we can & we will make a difference. Thank you so much for your support today, and please remember us each year at this time when we are asking for donations. "