by Cynthia Bulik
Although my favorite holiday of the year is Thanksgiving, the annual Foundation of Hope, Walk for Hope comes in a close second! This year, CEED has organized its own team (#2482) and we warmly invite you to join us to raise funds to support groundbreaking scientific research and mental health initiatives.
This year marks the 31st annual Walk for Hope. Every year, thousands of participants gather at the Angus Barn in Raleigh to show solidarity for friends, family members, and community members living with mental illness. On this day, we all come together to show that we can make progress in this field when we work together. Clinicians, researchers, trainees, family members, people with lived-experience, and advocates all walk in unison—we are all there for the same purpose and many of us probably fit into more than one of those categories! What we share is passion for destigmatizing mental illness and supporting research that will relieve suffering.
The Foundation of Hope has been critical to the establishment of CEED back in 2003 and has supported our researchers generously over time. They were foundational funders for our genetic initiatives which went on to leverage additional funding from the Klarman Family Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health. Over the years, they have also supported twin research on eating disorders in Sweden, studies designed to predict how restrictive eating develops in children across time, studies exploring the relationship between autoimmune illnesses and anorexia nervosa, and the role of hormonal factors in binge eating. They will also play an important role supporting an upcoming clinical trial of fecal microbiota transplantation in severe and enduring anorexia nervosa. Foundation funds have been awarded to Drs. Stephanie Zerwas, Hunna Watson, Jessica Baker, and myself; however, all of CEED has benefited from the support of the Foundation of Hope. In fact, they were even seminal in establishing the endowed professorship that brought me to UNC in the first place!
The Foundation of Hope’s mission is to conquer mental illness by investing in groundbreaking scientific research and mental health initiatives. Their vision is simple to state, yet grand in scope—they strive to eliminate suffering from mental illness. So if you want to support this mission, sign up for the October 13 walk here and make sure you choose the UNC CEED team #2482. There is also a 5K run and a 1 mile walk around the lake. And if you are not up for walking or running, you can sign up for the festival only, which is a day-long family-friendly event with music, games, face-painting, ice cream, pony rides and more!
If that’s not incentive enough, there’s always the BIG REVEAL and that is what color is the t-shirt going to be this year? C’mon out to Raleigh and join the sea of whatever color it may be to show your support for mental health research and to join us all in this collective effort to end stigma associated with mental illness!
To register, donate, or volunteer for the Walk for Hope, just click here. When you sign up, remember to sign up to be on the CEED team (UNC CEED team #2482)! We would love to have you join us!