The Brandon Marshall Foundation, Starved Rock Harley-Davidson and Linden Oaks at Edward are teaming up in an effort to increase awareness of mental illness and raise funds for mental health treatment.
The organizations are presenting the Brandon Marshall Mental Health Awareness Ride on Saturday, May 31. The event will begin at 8AM at the Linden Oaks Outpatient Center, 1335 N. Mill St. in Naperville, with motorcycle registration and comments from Brandon Marshall, NFL Pro Bowl wide receiver with the Chicago Bears, and his wife Michi.
Brandon, Michi and the bikers will hit the road at 9AM for a trip of more than 50 miles through Aurora, Oswego and Yorkville, ending at the Starved Rock Harley-Davidson dealership, 750 Centennial Dr. in Ottawa, where activities will include entertainment, a cookout, raffles and prizes.
The cost to have a motorcycle in the ride is $20 and includes lunch and a commemorative pin. All makes and models of bikes are welcome. Passenger registration is $10 and includes lunch. An adult non-rider ticket to the event at the Starved Rock Harley-Davidson dealership is $10 and includes lunch. To register online, visit www.starvedrockhd.com/brandonmarshallride.
Marshall was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2010. Since then, he and Michi co-founded The Brandon Marshall Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to end the stigma associated with mental illness, advocate for unprecedented awareness, connect those suffering to the resources they need and paint the world lime green (the official color for mental health awareness).
“People from all walks of life experience mental illness, including football players and motorcycle riders,” said Marshall. “You’d go get treatment for a broken arm or cancer. Mental illness is no different. It’s a sign of strength to seek help. I can tell you it is liberating to get a diagnosis, receive treatment, and begin living your life again.”
The Brandon Marshall Mental Health Awareness Ride came about due to the efforts of Erin Vandervelde, whose family owns the Starved Rock Harley-Davidson dealership and where she is Operations Manager.
“I have two family members who suffer from bipolar disorder,” said Vandervelde. “The challenges of dealing with a mental illness stretch throughout a family. When I noticed Brandon and Michi Marshall were talking about mental illness and sharing their story with the world in an attempt to remove the stigma associated with those suffering, I immediately wanted to help. A single donation request for a t-shirt has led to a friendship and partnership with The Brandon Marshall Foundation.
“We are thrilled to partner with Brandon (Marshall) and Harley-Davidson because our goals are the same,” said Gina Sharp, President, Linden Oaks at Edward. “This is an excellent opportunity to emphasize the importance of seeking treatment for mental health illnesses and disorders, and let people know how and where they can find help.
For more information about or to make a donation to The Brandon Marshall Foundation, visit www.thebrandonmarshall.com/foundation.
Starved Rock Harley-Davidson/Buell is a family-owned, customer-focused motorcycle experience, located off I-80 in Ottawa, Illinois. Only 17 miles from Starved Rock State Park, the region offers country roads for uncongested and scenic motorcycle excursions. For routes or directions, call (815) 431-1900, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.starvedrockhd.com.
Linden Oaks at Edward is a 108-bed behavioral health hospital on Edward Hospital’s Naperville campus with outpatient offices in Naperville, Plainfield, St. Charles, Woodridge and Yorkville. For more information about Linden Oaks and its involvement in the ride, visit www.lindenoaks.org/brandon-marshall-ride. For immediate assistance and a free and confidential mental health assessment, call the Linden Oaks 24/7 Help Line at (630) 305-5027.