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Walkers raise over $2,300 for Alliance

September 28, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

About 40 walkers raised more than $2,300 to benefit the Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Washington County Saturday in the eighth annual 5K walk-a-thon sponsored by the local advocacy group.

This year for the first time, the Hagerstown Jaycees joined in the sponsorship, said Connie Pauley, alliance president.

This year's goal was to raise $5,000, Pauley said. "We are pleased with the money we collected. We didn't raise $5,000, but next year is another year," she said.

The event is held at the Antietam National Battlefield every year.

The average pledge made by walkers is about $5 although some go as high as $50, said alliance treasurer Peggy Arcidiacono.

The first year of the walk-a-thon, 1991, the volunteers raised $5,000, Arcidiacono said. After that, the average dropped to about $2,000 a year, she said. Last year's walk only brought in about $1,200.

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The money is used by the alliance to help family members learn to cope with a relative with mental illness. The local chapter, part of the national organization, has about 50 members. All have a relative who is mentally ill, Pauley said.

Sometimes dealing with someone suffering from mental illness can be very difficult, Pauley said. "We support the family and try to fight the stigma of mental illness. We try to put a face to the problem," she said.

Jessie Pipkin, 15, walked the route for the second time this year. "I do it because I want to help mentally ill people. I learned about the walk-a-thon in my church. I think it's a good cause," she said.

Each walker received a button and a certificate.

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