Amazing Day - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1946070

Amazing Day

On Sunday, May 1, East Hampton Village sponsored its first (and, hopefully, annual) Stop the Stigma MayDay 5K. The purpose of the race was to raise awareness (and money) to help combat the mental health crisis that our community is facing.

As treasurer of the Old Montauk Athletic Club, which co-sponsored the race and helped organize it, I want to thank the East Hampton Village Foundation, East Hampton Village, and specifically Mayor Jerry Larsen, Village Administrator Marcos Baladron, Police Chief Mike Tracey, Beach Manager Drew Smith, Department of Public Works Superintendent David Collins, and all of the village employees who supported this race 100 percent from start to finish. It was a pleasure to work with this group of amazing individuals, and we cannot wait to do it again next year.

If you were at the race on Sunday, you saw what an amazing event it was. Mother Nature gave us the perfect day, and the community turned out in full force. Mayor Larsen started the race, which nearly 700 people completed. Families with strollers, runners, walkers, dogs, high school sports teams all showed up — and this combined effort raised over $18,000 for the Family Service League of Long Island.

I would be remiss if I did not give a shout-out to the two girls whose idea this was and without whose efforts the event would not have been such a huge success: Dylan Cashin and Ryleigh O’Donnell, both sophomores at East Hampton High School. Both have been open and honest about their struggles with anxiety over the past few years, and both credit counseling from Family Service League as helping them get through it.

They want to “Stop the Stigma” surrounding mental health issues. Mental health is health, and those struggling with these issues should be cared for and supported just as we care for and support those with physical illnesses.

Thank you to The Press for the reporting, thank you to our sponsors, and thank you to all who showed up. It was an amazing day.

Jennifer Fowkes
East Hampton