11th Annual Race for Recovery Raises Awareness about Mental Health in Community
PORT ST. LUCIE — New Horizons of the Treasure Coast and Okeechobee raised funds for and awareness about mental health and addiction recovery at the 11th annual Race for Recovery 5K Run/Walk (and 1-Mile Walk) at Indian River State College Pruitt Campus. The event takes place every September in recognition of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
Presented again this year by Healthcite Pharmacy, with the Mary and Wilson Baysinger Fund underwriting the purchase and printing of participation shirts, the event raised about $30,000 to help cover the cost of mental health care for uninsured children and adults in St. Lucie County.
Since covid, 65% of the 15,000 children and adults New Horizons serves in a 4-county region have no source of income or any insurance, yet no one is turned away due to lack of financial resources.
“We’ve seen an increase in our crisis calls over the past 20 months,” said New Horizons CEO William Wims. “The 5K event was really gaining momentum prior to covid, but we will rebuild the event and other fundraising efforts while continuing to provide essential mental health and recovery services, regardless of a person’s ability to pay for care. A healthy community is the goal for us all.”
Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 24, there were 99 suicides in the area: 29 in Martin County, 45 in St. Lucie County, 16 in Indian River County, and 9 in Okeechobee County. In 2020, during the approximate same time period, there were 72 suicides.
New Horizons teaches QPR (question, persuade, refer), a suicide prevention approach that educates teens and adults about warning signs and what to do if they are present. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 10- to 24-year-olds and it’s in the top 10 leading causes of death among all adults in the US.
“Suicide is the only cause of death that is 100% preventable,” said Mary Baysinger, a board director at New Horizons. “The Race for Recovery is a time to celebrate life, while still remembering the important mission we are here to fulfill.”
Runners and walkers ages 7 to 84, as well as some infants in strollers, came out with caution this year (due to the ongoing risk of covid) for exercise, fresh air, unity in the community and loads of goodies.
More than 25 volunteers from Fort Pierce Central High School helped distribute water, Natalie’s orange juice, bagels from Panera Bread, and iced towels from Zweben Law Firm. Representatives from The Law Firm of Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, a perennial sponsor and walking team, also distributed water and iced towels along the 5K route.
Finishing first overall with a time of 20:52 was 25-year-old Josh Negron, followed closely by master’s winner Dale Ruby crossing the finish at 22:17. Chenae Jackson was the race’s overall female finisher with a time of 22:54, and master’s top female finisher was Jeannette Hill with a time of 26:22. Top finishers received gift
cards to local businesses, such as Berry Fresh Café, First Watch, Cool Beanz, Ocean Nails, Spiro’s Taverna, Planet Fitness, and Ellie’s Hair Salon.
Additional sponsors include Harry Shaw, Nelson Morgan Wealth Management, Dynix Diagnostics, First Florida Insurance Brokers, Florida Power & Light, Midway Dental Center, The Overdorf Family, Toby Overdorf, IRSC, Carl & Kathryn Hensley, St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, Fox McCluskey Bush Robison PLLC, Southern Eagle Distributing, Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, Glendale Trade Center, Grimes Heating & Air Conditioning, Guardian Hawk Security, Forever Loving Hands, Pat Austin, Keefe McCullough CPA, Gator Trace Golf & Country Club and Clean, Green Earth, and Sam’s Club.
Save the date for the 2022 Race for Recovery 5K Run/Walk on Sept. 24, 2022.
New Horizons is the largest mental health provider in the region, with nine offices across Martin, St. Lucie Indian River and Okeechobee counties. In addition to both inpatient and outpatient programs, the nonprofit has a 24-hour helpline and mobile response that delivers help directly to the person in need (772-468-3909).
For more information, please visit www.nhtcinc.org or call 772-672-8333.
PHOTO CREDITS: Deb Pizzimenti