I want to take this time to thank everyone who has followed this journey and supported the endeavor. Throughout these last 6 months, and even the months preceding the actual walk, many of you have done a great deal in making both the trek and mission a success.
As a result of fundraising efforts to benefit the National Alliance of Mental Illness in Southwestern Pennsylvania (NAMI SWPA), we raised nearly $10,000 to benefit the non-profit. With this being said, many of you have also joined the “Ian Walks America” team for the upcoming NAMI Walk here in Pittsburgh. Thus far, fundraising efforts have raised $460.00. Furthermore, several of you made persoanl donations to help me with expenses during the actual walk. A number of you donated to me before I left Pittsburgh, while I was away, and even spontaneously on the road itself. Thank you to all who contributed in this manner!
Another huge thank you goes out to all of you who hosted me along the way. I cannot express how grateful I am for the hospitality and kindness you all gave to me out on the road. In many of the places I least expected to meet someone, you were there. To take me, a stranger, into your homes and to treat me as if I were apart of the family is something I will never forget. You have all inspired me to be as open and welcoming towards others as you all were to me.
The next thank you goes to all of you who performed those random acts of kindness on the road. Was it something to drink, something to eat, money for food or a hotel? No matter the act, I am forever grateful that you chose to stop at some point to lend a hand!
The final shout out goes out to all of you who helped spread the mission of this walk. Many of you may fall under a number of these categories above, but those of you who helped make an impact on spreading awareness in your own communities as a result of the walk is beyond incredible! Many of you helped to do this by interviewing me for a local paper, news, or radio station. The way that many of you also contributed to this is both inspirational and courgeous. I am talking about those of you who came forward in sharing your own stories. I have seen all of the posts on the website, heard hundreds of stories on the walk, and realize how much support and hope you have given others simply by coming forward and initiating discussion in regards to your association(s) with mental illness. To those of you who fought back on Stigma by coming forward to shine a light on the reality of those ailments which affect our minds, I thank you. To those of you who shared and continue to share your stories, I thank and support all that you are doing and have done to spread awareness. Some of you who have come forward include those of you who struggle with a form of mental illness, those of you who have lost a loved one to it, and those of you who have made a living of striving day to day to make a future where we can all accept it. Thank You.