• 68°

Race supports mental health services

An upcoming charity run in Suffolk will benefit a Hampton Roads organization providing support for families dealing with mental illness.

The third-annual Chas Foundation 5K Walk/Run and 8K Run will be held on Oct. 21 at Towne Bank University at 6009 Harbour View Blvd. Registration will begin at 7:20 a.m., and racing will commence at 8:30 a.m.

Runners and walkers will proceed from the starting line to pass several lakes along an even, well-paved route at their own pace.

“You can walk, you can jog, or you can race,” said Mark Lawson, race director for the Chas Foundation. “There’s something for everyone here.”

Attendees will enjoy coffee, doughnuts and information on local mental health services after the race. Mary Kathryn Wood of 94.9 The Point radio will be the master of ceremonies.

The Chas Foundation was founded in 2012 by Tucker Corprew, a mother of three and a member of the Norfolk Chapter of the National Association for the Mentally Ill. Her son, Charles Kirkwood, who suffered from bipolar disorder, took his own life.

The organization started as a grassroots movement to remove the stigma associated with the mentally ill and improve their lives.

“The idea was to try to come up with a more innovative approach for the delivery of mental health care, and to help families access those services in the mental health care system that we’ve found extremely difficult to do,” Lawson said.

More than $20,000 has been raised so far, with major contributors including Allfirst, Coxe-Lewis Properties, Franklin Lumber, TowneBank, Nansemond Insurance Agency, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy and Bon Secours.

These funds will go to support upcoming initiatives in Hampton Roads, such as mindfulness programs in Norfolk and Suffolk schools.

“This program would help children deal with anxiety, stress and bullying in a way so that they won’t develop mental health issues,” Lawson said. “We want to catch the children before they start having problems.”

Visit the chasfoundation.org for more information, or gofundme.com/mental-health-charityrace to make a donation.