"Running Saved My Life:” Marathons for Mental Health - NAMI-NYC

“Running Saved My Life:” Marathons for Mental Health

Raymond’s story is one of resilience and courage. He has faced numerous challenges in his life. Raymond has experienced mental health challenges since he was a child in the foster care system. He survived a brain hemorrhage, and today works to manage his PTSD, OCD, mild autism, and depression. His dad’s sister also died by suicide. Despite these obstacles, Raymond has found comfort and purpose in running and has made it his mission to raise funds and awareness for various non-profits. “I like to give back on my miles,” Raymond said. He chooses a different cause each year from Alzheimer’s to cancer.

Raymond will fundraise for NAMI-NYC for the TCS NYC Marathon this fall. He can run with assistance from Achilles International, an organization pairing athletes with disabilities and guides. Raymond’s guide helps him with coaching, pacing, and assistance with water stations to stay focused and on track.

At first, Raymond started running to improve his physical fitness and overall well-being. Feeling depressed, out of shape, and lonely, he began walking in Central Park. Over the course of a couple of years, he gradually progressed from walking to participating in his first race, a 2-mile fun run in 2009, when he was 34 years old. From there, his love for running grew, and he completed his first Tunnel to Towers 5K on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and his first half marathon in Asbury Park in 2012. Since then, Raymond has completed over 80 half marathons and 15 full marathons, including the New York City and Philadelphia Marathons, often running multiple races within a short time frame, such as the Marine Corps Marathon and the Chicago Marathon just six days apart.

Raymond believes that many people with mental illness do not always receive the help they need and are often misunderstood. Raymond knows people may not realize the challenges he faces just by looking at him. Raymond offers simple advice: “Speak up and seek help when you need it.”

Support Raymond and his efforts to raise funds for NAMI-NYC’s free mental health programs and community!