The Clewiston News

NAMI seeking sponsors for the first ever ‘NAMIWalks’ 5K in SW Florida

FORT MYERS — NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Lee, Charlotte and Hendry Counties invites sponsors to partner with them in an effort to raise awareness and funds for mental health via NAMIWalks Southwest Florida, their first annual 5K walk. The walk will take place on Saturday, Sept. 29, and will begin at 7 p.m. at the City of Fort Myers Pier. The fundraising goal is $75,000.

Celebrating its 16th year, NAMIWalks takes place in more than 85 communities across the country to raise money for vital NAMI programs and services that are provided to those in need free of cost. This is the first time it will take place in Southwest Florida, specifically in Fort Myers.

“Mental health disorders are prevalent in today’s busy and stress-filled society. We see it, we hear about it, and many of us live it. We have all been affected by mental illness in one form or another. I have known, worked with, as well as had family members and friends who have had to deal with mental illness. Sometimes it was apparent, sometimes hidden, but just because it cannot be seen on the outside doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt those suffering,” said Vacharee Howard, who is NAMI Lee, Charlotte and Hendry Counties’ executive vice president.

“The NAMIWalks has been long overdue and there is no better time than now for all of us in Southwest Florida to come together. This walk is a chance to bring us all together to celebrate who we are as a community.

“With this event we hope to ‘Fill the Bridge’ with people that want to help us change the way the world sees mental illness. Let’s show our community that we care about one another and our future and that we are stronger together. No one should ever have to walk through their toughest day alone,” Ms. Howard continued.

Various levels of sponsorship are available for the event, including: Kilometer Sponsor, $250; Supporter, $500; Bronze, $1,000; Kick-off Event, $1,500; Silver, $2,500; Gold, $5,000; Major, $7,500; Presenting, $10,000; and Premier, $15,000. Special sponsorship recognition is also available for major donors of goods and services and is dependent on the cash value of the donation. This includes the sponsorship of food and beverages.

On Saturday, Sept. 29, check-in will begin promptly at 6 p.m., and various activities for all ages will take place throughout the evening, including activities for those who wish to participate but not walk. Fundraising walk teams are also encouraged.

Register for free at NAMIWalks Southwest Florida at For more information about NAMIWalks Southwest Florida or details about donating, volunteering, or becoming a sponsor visit