Interfaith Social Service to host 45th annual Stop the Stigma 5K

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Interfaith Social Service to host 45th annual Stop the Stigma 5K

Proceeds from the Stop the Stigma 5K support neighbors fighting mental illness and addiction

Hundreds of participants will be walking and running in support of friends, family and loved ones affected by mental illness and addiction on Saturday, April 27th, at Interfaith Social Services’ 45th annual Stop the Stigma 5K. The race starts and ends at the Kennedy Center (Quincy Council on Aging) on East Squantum Street in North Quincy.

The event raises funds for Interfaith’s New Directions Counseling Center, and also draws attention to the importance of access to mental healthcare and ending social stigmas attached to mental illness and addiction.

New Directions Counseling Center has been providing compassionate and skilled counseling services to the South Shore since 1947. The counseling program works on an income based sliding fee scale ensuring that anyone who needs care can access it regardless of their ability to pay. Therapists at the Center conducted more than 2,500 counseling sessions last year.

This year, Tom, a New Directions client, will be speaking at the 5K to help kick off the race. Tom has battled addiction for much of his life and has been receiving counseling services from New Directions therapist Anne Donovan. In sharing his story, he hopes to encourage others to seek help and eliminate stigmas surrounding addiction.

For thirteen years, Donovan has been helping clients like Tom cope with addiction and recovery at Interfaith. With addiction, she believes everyone has a way out if help is available. “There is no shame with addiction; the shame is not doing anything about it,” Donovan said.

Donovan and other New Directions therapists will be at the 5K, providing information about the Counseling Center and supporting those running and walking.

Registration for the Stop the Stigma 5K is now open. Participants who register by April 12 will receive a T-shirt with an option to upgrade to a dry-fit performance shirt. The race is professionally timed by RaceWire and each participant receives a numbered bib and finish photo.

The 5K follows a scenic and sometimes hilly route along Quincy Bay and through the Squantum neighborhood. It ends with a post-race Family Fun Celebration for all participants. The Celebration includes food, music, a kids’ Fun Run, games, raffles, a bouncy house, face painting, kids crafts and treats from New England Ice Cream. New England Revolution’s Battalion and Central Rock Gym will provide activities and prizes. Pat the Patriot is also scheduled to make a special appearance.

Heritage Management Company is generously supporting the race as a 5K Sponsor this year. Long-term supporters Arbella Insurance Foundation, Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan and J. Calnan & Associates have all come on board as Gold Sponsors and Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts are Silver Sponsors. In addition, Gold Medal Bakery/ Bagel Boy is kindly providing bagels and Polar Beverages will be donating the water for all participants.

To register for the 5K:

Register now at StopTheStigma5K.org.

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