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In Times of Need: 5Kate walk/run event shines light on mental illness

Times-Tribune - 9/20/2023

Sep. 20—Who: Katie Shoener was a smart, funny, loving and beautiful human being. She also happened to struggle with mental illness, and her loved ones hope everyone remembers her for everything she was, not just her challenges.

Katie had bi-polar disorder and while she worked hard to overcome, going to college, being the best daughter, sister, and aunt she could be, and prioritizing treatment when she needed it, Katie died by suicide in August 2016.

Wanting to show the world that Katie was so much more than a diagnosis, her father, Ed Shoener, penned a raw and honest obituary about Katie's mental health. It immediately went viral, resonating with people all over the world, because everyone knows someone who struggles with mental illness.

"The statistic is that 20% of people have some sort of diagnosable mental illness so if you yourself don't have one, you definitely know someone who does," Shoener said.

The family then started the Katie Foundation to tear down stigmas surrounding mental illness and approach those living with these challenges with compassion and understanding, while providing them with the support they need.

Then, in 2022, Katie's Place Clubhouse was created for people living with mental illness. It offers hope for recovery and opportunities including resources to re-enter the workforce, find housing, build a support system and more.

What: Each year, the Katie Foundation hosts the annual Shining A Light On Mental Illness 5Kate walk/run and event, benefiting the Scranton chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It will take place on Saturday, Oct. 14, at Nay Aug Park, 500 Arthur Ave., Scranton.

How: Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the race begins at 10. To register in advance, visit Registration cost $25, plus fees, in advance, and $30 after Saturday, Sept. 30.

The race is open to all ages and guests don't have to run or walk in the race to attend, Shoener said. A wellness fair featuring local mental health resources will be available as well, from 9 a.m. to noon. The event also will include children's activities like a trick-or-treat party, games and more. A basket raffle will also be held after the race. The Glider Diner will provide lunch. Guests also are encouraged to wear costumes.

Katie's birthday was on Halloween, her dad explained, and she loved the holiday and the fall. So, the family thought the best way to honor her was to host an event during her favorite time of the year.

Why: Proceeds from the event benefit the local Scranton chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Katie's Place Clubhouse.

If one cannot attend the event, but would still like to make a donation, the public can donate by visiting or by mailing donations to the Katie Foundation, P.O. Box 3204, Scranton, PA 18505.

In his own words: "At the Katie Foundation, we inspire people to speak up about mental illness and the need for openness and compassion. We also support initiatives that provide better treatment for people living with a mental illness in the local community. Through supporting this event, we can use those proceeds to help those struggling with mental illness right here in our local community." — Ed Shoener, Katie's father

Contact the writer:; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT on X


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