Mary Freer of Park City, Utah is a retired nurse. Fifteen years ago, her oldest son, Todd, became mentally ill in college. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, he has had a history of non-compliance with medication, attempted suicide and being jailed. Rather than give up hope, Mary has dedicated herself through NAMI Utah to public education about mental illness.
Mary will run the Olympic Torch two-tenths of a mile as part of the official relay en route to Friday's opening ceremonies in Salt Lake City. Throughout the United States, NAMI members are encouraged to pause to pray or cheer her on, as she starts her run, on Thursday, February 7 at 10:54 AM (Mountain Time): that's 9:54 Pacific, 11: 54 Central, and 12:54 Eastern Time.
Cheering Mary on in Midway, Utah (Charleston Road) will be NAMI Utah members and consumers from the State Hospital in Provo and Alliance House in Salt Lake City. Mary has said she will carrying torch for Todd and every family that ever has carried the pain associated with mental illness. Like the movie, A Beautiful Mind, she hopes to light a fire that will contribute to growing public awareness of the nature of mental illness and the elimination of stigma, prejudice and discrimination. See also www.namiut.org and www.saltlake2002.com.