SCRANTON (WOLF) — One local foundation is working hard to shine a light on mental illness, and there’s no doubt how much the pandemic has played a part in its challenge.
FOX56’s Melanie Zayas was at the 5Kate Run and Walk in Scranton giving us a look at the turnout today.
Despite the drizzle, dozens of walkers and runners made it a point to show up at Scranton’s Nay Aug Park this Saturday morning.
It was all in honor of Katie Shoener, a former Scranton resident who fought with bipolar disorder and lost her battle to suicide five years ago.
Friends and family of Katie also appeared today, to help break the stigma surrounding mental illness.
“We started five years ago after I lost my sister in law Katie to suicide in august of 2016 so we started this in her memory and help create awareness for those suffering with a mental illness and know they are supported and loved and we want to talk to them and to let them know that its ok to not be ok," said sister-in-law, Sarah Shoener.
Deacon Ed Shoener of St. Peter’s Cathedral says he was happy to see the outpouring support from the community for his daughter, Katie.
“She always took it seriously, but you know we gotta do a better job with dealing with mental illness, find better ways to treat it, better ways to manage it. Because today’s a typical day in the united states about 130 people are gonna die from suicide today and that’s too many. Its time to bring that rate down. They declare war on cancer and aids and all sorts of things which is wonderful, we need to declare war on suicide and bring these rates down," said Ed Shoener.
You might also wonder why everyone is dressed up and running in costumes.
Katie’s birthday also fell on Halloween.
“It was always a big deal in her house growing up so we decided to make it this Halloween themed run but also to kind of emphasize that you can dress up and you can wear a mask but people with mental illness feel like they need to put a mask on everyday so its like wear a costume today but don’t mask mental illness," said Sarah,
Everyone participating in the 6th annual run felt good supporting a meaningful cause,
“I came out here today with my two sons, Alec and Maddox we like to run 5ks for fun but they also understand the importance of promoting good causes in the area," said Paola Giangiacomo of Waverly.
To learn more about the Katie Foundation, click here.