Once again, the UNC Eating Disorders clinical and research teams made up a good portion of the UNC Psychiatry Team at the Walk for Hope this year. UNC Psychiatry was the biggest team with 74 walkers! After the singing of the national anthem, white homing doves were released as a sign of hope for all of those suffering from mental illness. As always, the mood was festive and hope was in the air as the runners and walkers took off up Glenwood Avenue. From grandfathers with walkers to babies in strollers, all generations spent this beautiful autumn day raising hope and funds for research and treatment of mental illness.
UNC Eating Disorders first timers at the walk were heartened by the turn out and the dedication of those who return year after year for this amazing event. Christine Peat and Sara Trace, post-doctoral fellows, both exclaimed “great turnout for a fantastic cause!” Cristin Runfola, also a post-doctoral fellow found it inspirational to walk among so many lively and enthusiastic walkers who supported mental health research and treatment. The walker with the eating disorders group who came from farthest away was Thomas Frisell, a PhD student from the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Thomas marveled at the sea of green as the walkers embarked on their morning journey. The Foundation of Hope has funded work on eating disorders with the Swedish Twin Registry as well as work on the 17 country international Genetic Consortium for Anorexia Nervosa (GCAN) which is led by UNC.
The children’s area offered rock climbing, air slides, and face painting getting the kids involved with the cause from their earliest birthdays.
Of course runners and walkers were rewarded with a delicious buffet of Angus Barn hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled pork, and an array of vegetarian options. The live music had everyone bopping and singing and drew the line dancers to the dance floor.
If you couldn’t make it this year, check the Walk for Hope website for next year’s walk…and you can always do the Bike for Hope too! The Foundation of Hope for Research and Treatment of Mental Illness is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit raising money for mental illness research http://www.walkforhope.com.