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Sunny run sheds light on mental health awareness

Nearly 400 runners and walkers took to the streets of Glencoe on Saturday, May 2 for the inaugural Break the Stigma 5K run/3K walk. 
The event navigated a course around the northwest part of town both beginning and ending at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on a sunny morning that matched the mood of its participants.
Glencoe resident Michelle Gomez and her “best friend” Michelle Dunbar, two of the co-organizers of the event, thought up the idea of holding a local run/walk after participating in a 5K in support of suicide prevention.  
“Mental health issues are near and dear to both Marilyn and me,” Gomez said. “I am living proof that one can never tell who may live with mental illness. The stigma prevents many people from getting proper help. 
“Mental illness can be such a silent enemy. The sooner people bring their illness into the light, my hope is (that’s) the sooner they can find healthy ways to relieve some of the symptoms.”
To this end, she set about contacting Julio Salazar, who is running across the state this month to spotlight mental health awareness as founder of the Break the Stigma Project based in St. Paul.
Salazar agreed to partner with the local effort, and what began as a plan for what Gomez described as a “simple event” continued to expand.
For more on this story, see the May 6 issue of the Chronicle.