The Hope for Depression Research Foundation’s (HDRF) Seventh Annual 5K Race of Hope brought together more than 400 men, women, and children on Sunday, August 7th in Southampton Village in support of mental health awareness and research. Iconic author and creator of the Sex and the City series, Candace Bushnell, cheered the crowd on as Celebrity Grand Marshal during the festive event, which raised over $325,000 for research into new and improved treatments for depression and anxiety.
HDRF founder Audrey Gruss and Board member Arthur Dunnam, both Hamptons residents, served with Bushnell as Co-Grand Marshals of the 5K walk/run, which is a USA Track and Field-sanctioned event.
“This organization is so important to me because I too, have suffered from depression and I can tell you that it robs people of a portion of their lives,” said Bushnell. “I’ve also had friends who have had mental illnesses and the outcome hasn’t always been good for them. This is a very personal cause for me and I’m so excited about the work that Audrey Gruss is doing to find new treatments.”
Audrey Gruss said, “A million people struggle with depression and anxiety since the pandemic. That’s a third of Americans including men, women and children. You are out here today to help raise awareness and help support one of the most prevalent health issues of our time.”
“For sixteen years we’ve raised awareness and done the research, and we’re on the way to finding a new antidepressant,” added Gruss. “Did you know that 50% of the people who need medication, don’t respond to what’s out there? Most of the available medications are over 35 years old, with Prozac being introduced in 1985. Now we’re working on a major new category of medication with clinical trials at Mount Sinai and Columbia, and your support today will help fund this critical research.”
At the starting gun, participants set off to complete the 3.1-mile course around Lake Agawam and the tree-lined streets of Southampton, NY. Hope was in abundant supply as everybody sported t-shirts and caps in HDRF’s signature sunshine yellow.
At the close of the race, Audrey Gruss handed out awards in several categories including First Prize for best male time went to William Hague, and First Prize for the best female time went to Kira Garry. The award for Top Fundraising Team went to Kim Heirston, which raised over $21,000. The award for Top Individual Fundraiser went to Arthur Dunnam, who raised $45,400 from friends and family for his race. The award for the largest team went to Natasha Jefferies and her team, Dakari’s Heartbeat, with 14 members.
All race participants received an HDRF branded ultra-lightweight jacket, hat, race shirt, and finisher medal. The first, second, and third place winners received cash prizes of up to $500. Successful fundraisers also received special prizes for raising upwards of $250 and $1,000.
Race participants included: Janna Bullock, Sharon Bush and Bob Murray, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Kim Heirston, Tania Higgins, Richard LeFrak, Anne Nordeman, John Paulson, James and Teresa Remez and their daughters Sofia and Lila, Mirella Cameran-Reilly, Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren and Lis Waterman.
About Hope for Depression Research Foundation
Audrey Gruss founded HDRF in 2006 in memory of her mother Hope, who struggled with clinical depression. Today, HDRF is the leading nonprofit organization focused solely on advanced depression research into new and better treatments for the illness. The World Health Organization has declared depression as the leading cause of disability worldwide, and yet conventional medications today are outdated and do not fully work for 50% of patients. The mission of the HDRF is to spur innovative neuroscience research into the origins, medical diagnosis, new treatments, and prevention of depression and its related mood disorders – bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder, and suicide. To date, HDRF has provided more than $45 million through over 200 grants for breakthrough depression research that promises to transform the way depression is viewed, diagnosed, treated and prevented. Currently, HDRF has a potential new class of medication in pilot clinical trials at Mount Sinai Medical Center and Columbia University.