National Alliance on Mental Illness
page printed from NAMI Ventura County

Candace Jackson, Love Stories  –

Some of you know, our son Mat developed a brain disorder called Schizoaffective Disorder in his Freshman year in college. We have a great deal of hope and faith that the battle against mental illness will be won. With NAMI's help, it will happen!

I am the team captain for Love Stories which is sponsored by Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village. Last year we raised nearly $5,000. The reason I am walking is because I believe very strongly in NAMI and the work they do. I am a Family to Family teacher and vice president of the NAMI Ventura County Board. I see first hand how the information that we teach gives such help and hope to families that have loved ones that are ill with a brain disorder. I also see the relief families experience when they realize that they are no longer alone in their struggles!  

To make fundraising and my job as team captain easier, I setup a team page and a personal fundraising page on the NAMI website. Once registered, the website provided a letter which I customized with my own story and emailed to friends and family inviting them to join my team or donate to my effort. It automatically includes a direct link back to my team page and walker page making it quick and easy for people to respond. For those without email, I used regular mail, telephone and face to face contact to invite them to participate.

This walk is so important. Get involved. The stronger NAMI gets, the louder our voice becomes.


Click here to visit Candace’s team page and walker page.


Raul Mercado, Friends and Family of Paul Mercado -

Raul Mercado, his sister Frances Tovar and other family and friends will walk again on May 20th. Above and beyond that, on March 19, 2006, Raul, for a 3rd straight year, and Frances, for the 1st time, competed in and COMPLETED THE L.A. MARATHON, 26.2 miles, (Raul in 3:57 and Frances in 4:20) with a personal goal to raise funds for NAMI! They were cheered on by a group of about 15 family & friends, all wearing NAMI tshirts, many of whom participated in the 5k that same day. Collectively they raised $2,973! and work continuously to raise the awareness of mental illness and NAMI.
Why Are We Walking?

For those that do not know, we lost our brother Paul to bipolar disorder also known as manic-depressive illness. He passed on L.A. Marathon Race Day, March 4, 2001. He was only 29 years old and left behind a beautiful girlfriend and daughter.

Paul was a very energetic and outgoing individual. He loved music and had an extreme passion for dancing. It wasn’t unusual for him to win the “cumbia” dance contest at the local night clubs. His second love was old cars. He owned a 66 convertible “Chevy” Impala and a 53 Chevrolet 2-door Bel Air which he enjoyed working on and most of all “cruising” them on the weekends.

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function. The symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide, as was the case with our brother. More than 2 million Americans or about 1.2 percent of the population has bipolar disorder.

We are walking "In Memory of Paul Mercado" our brother, our friend. We love Paul and miss him every day