I recently heard “The Fighter” by Gym Class Heroes featuring Ryan Tedder of One Republic. Their video, which you can download and view here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxV-OOIamyk , showcases the inspirational John Orozco, world class athlete and 2012 Olympic gymnast from the Bronx, New York. I love it! It inspires me to keep up the good fight, as my friend calls it, regarding mental illness awareness and erasing the stigma. I may not be an Olympian, but this Mom is a fighter too. How is she a fighter? She is an advocate.
As I listened to the song I thought about those that advocate for mental health awareness and erasing the stigma like Bring Change 2 Mind, Karla Smith Foundation, Silent Siren and The Balanced Mind Foundation. I find that I feel thankful to each of these organizations for instilling a sense of hope and universality as they work diligently to provide free educational materials, resources, support groups, community partnership programs for emergency responders, partnership programs for military installations and so much more. Simply put – these four organizations are phenomenal for all they do and stand for. Talk about advocacy!
You may be asking, “What is advocacy?” According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an advocate is “one that pleads the cause of another, one that defends or maintains a cause or a proposal or one that supports or promotes the interests of another.”
Furthermore, while listening to the song, I also thought about my family and how far we have come since Kim’s battle with bipolar disorder unfolded. I am so proud of my husband Bill, my children Paul, Kim and Katlin and our parents, siblings, extended family and friends. I am thankful for us coming together to lift one another up during one of the most challenging times of our lives. We are beyond blessed to have such an amazing family! I love all of you beyond measure! You are my Olympic team!
If you find that you would like to become an advocate and help raise mental illness awareness and erase the stigma or fight the good fight for another cause whether it’s animal rights, children’s rights, elder care, human rights, medical/health or another cause all it takes is reaching out to your community of interest and asking what you can do to help and advocate no matter how young or old you are…
Or as Gym Class Heroes sings:
There goes a fighter, there goes a fighter
Here comes a fighter
That’s what they will say to me, say to me, say to me
This one’s a fighter
What we gonna do? What we gonna do?
What we gonna do? What we gonna do ya’ll?
A couple of excellent places to start are: