Bright sunshine and high spirits were in abundant supply at the Hope for Depression Research Foundation’s (HDRF) first ever Walk of Hope to Defeat Depression on Saturday, July 30 in Southampton.
Despite the heat wave, a high-energy crowd of over 200 people gathered at the Southampton Cultural Center for the 9 AM walk to raise awareness and funds for advanced depression research. Speaking at a microphone at the top of the Cultural Center steps, HDRF Founder and Chair Audrey Grussreminded the participants that, “according to the World Health Organization, depression is the number one cause of disability worldwide.”
Wearing baseball hats and t-shirts the color of hope – a bright, sunshiny yellow – participants of all ages walked three miles around Lake Agawam. The crowd headed down Jobs Lane at a steady clip, then turned right onto Main Street and around the lake via village streets, to finish back at the Cultural Center.
Southampton Mayor Mark Epley helped kick off the walk with Gruss. “The Walk of Hope has gathered the community to recognize that depression is a real medical condition,” he said. “It is serious but can and must be treated.” Gruss added that more research into the illness is critical to find new treatments for depression that are more effective and without side effects. She noted that 50% of people who need help do not respond to existing medications.
The Walk of Hope is one of the several special events celebrating the tenth anniversary of HDRF and its acclaimed Depression Task Force of world-renowned neuroscientists who are pooling expertise and data to accelerate discovery.
Seen at the walk: Yasmin Aga Khan, Janna Bullock, Joanne De Guardiola, Southampton Hospital’s Steve Bernstein, Sharon Bush, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Martin Gruss and Josh Gruss, Kim Heirston-Evans and Richard Evans, Dana Hammond Stubgen, Richard LeFrak, Carol Mack, Jay McInerney, Lorry Newhouse, Dr. Holly Phillips, Tatiana and Campion Platt and their three children, and Veronica Webb.
The Hope for Depression Research Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization focused solely on depression research. The World Health Organization has declared depression as the leading cause of disability worldwide. Despite its prevalence, depression is still misunderstood, underfunded and under-researched. To date, HDRF has provided more than $20 million through over 125 grants for accelerated breakthrough depression research that promises to lead to new and better medications and treatments. HDRF’s mission is two-fold – 1) To accelerate advanced brain research into the origins, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of depression, 2) To raise awareness of depression as a medical illness, educate the public and erase the stigma of depression. Audrey Gruss founded HDRF in April 2006 in memory of her mother Hope, who struggled with clinical depression. Every dollar raised goes directly to research.