This week, staff writer Maggie Westerman talks with Sarah Shoener about the fourth annual 5Kate walk/run benefiting the Scranton chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Behavioral Health Initiative at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine .
- Residence: Scranton
- Professional background: Licensed professional counselor who owns a private mental health practice
- Title: Board member and chairwoman
Q: Tell us about Katie Shoener.
A: Katie was my sister-in-law. She was a beautiful, smart, funny, loving, talented young woman. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and battled that for 11 years before dying by suicide in August 2016. She was an avid baker, party planner, and a great daughter, sister and aunt. She was loved by all who met her.
Q: Who is the 5K open to?
A: The 5K is open to all ages. This year, students run for free. We encourage runners and walkers to dress in costume but not mask mental illness.
Q: What else will be on hand at the event?
A: Following the race, there will be a free lunch provided by the Glider Diner. A wellness fair featuring local mental health resources will be available as well. We will have children’s activities including pony rides, pumpkin painting, games and lots of fun. A basket raffle will also be held after the race.
Q: How will proceeds be used?
A: Proceeds benefit our local Scranton chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Behavioral Health Initiative at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. These are two local organizations that support the Scranton community in regards to mental health support and awareness.
Q: Why is community support crucial to this cause?
A: We need to show those who are suffering with a mental illness that they are allowed to not be OK and that we will support them no matter what. We need to educate and show a better understanding for those who experience mental illness. The community needs to rally around them and provide support, even if it’s just listening or being with someone. The community also needs to be educated to know how to better handle a crisis situation so we can keep more people safe.
If you go
- What: Fourth annual 5Kate walk/run
- When: Saturday, Oct. 26; registration, 8 a.m.; run/walk, 10 a.m.
- Where: Pool pavilion at Nay Aug Park, Scranton
- Details: Registration costs $25 in advance online and $30 the day of the race. Students can participate for free (a parent must sign a waiver). Visit thekatiefoundation.org for more information and to register.