(St. Louis, Mo.) – She lost her son to a mental illness, but Shirlee Gentles of St. Louis refuses to let Marshall’s struggle with bipolar disorder define who he was. On May 25th, she will be among the hundreds expected to turn out for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Spring Walk 2013 in St. Louis.
The event will begin at the Upper Muny Lot at Forest Park, which is located near the intersection of Macklind Drive and Union Drive in St. Louis. There will be 5-K and one-mile courses through the park. Check-in is at 8 a.m. with the start time at 9 a.m.
In addition to helping raise awareness about how prevalent mental illness is in this country, the event is a fundraiser for Bring Change to Mind, a national anti-stigma campaign founded by actress Glenn Close. Gentles will be walking and raising money in her son’s name. Donations can be made by sponsoring a runner, or logging on to www.namiwalks.org/stlouis and making a pledge. This year’s fundraising goal is $20,000.
“I feel it’s really important to give back. It’s my way of keeping Marshall’s memory alive,” said Gentles.
In her memoir, “Are You Feeding Me Poison?” (Tate Publishing, 2012, $13.99) Gentles shares the heartbreaking story of a mother’s fight for her son. In her review of the book, Glenn Close said, “It is stories like yours which will give people the courage to tell their own stories. We all naturally put on a brave face to the world, but everyone has a story and it’s the telling of stories like yours that will end the stigma and suffering.”
Tate Publishing released “Are You Feeding Me Poison?” in Oct. 2012. Books are available at fine bookstores everywhere or can be purchased online at www.tatepublishing.com, www.Amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com