Patty Duke Mental Health Project
Team Member: Sean Bennick
Sean Astin wrote -
To each of you, all of you and the entire world :-)))
My mother's life touched tens of millions of people. Her ground-breaking portrayal of iconic American legend Helen Keller launched a career that would span six decades. First on broadway and then on the silver screen, Patty Duke's characterization of the extraordinary development of the blind/deaf child brought global attention to the plight of people living with those challenges.
This kind of illuminating and compassionate work became the sacred mission of her life. She became a voice for the voiceless and a reassuring presence for the scared, the intimidated and the lost. She was a healer of many souls and a champion for so many in need.
Anna (her given name) fought for civil rights, gay rights and the rights of working actors to name just a few. Her greatest achievement was confronting her mental illness and making her story public. She crossed the Nation speaking and campaigning and lobbying for mental health. My mom took her place as a mental health advocate in the greatest tradition of noble leadership.
Ultimately, her colossal energy and indomitable spirit charged her life and bolstered the sense of purpose and intention that defined her existence. Through countless and often agonizing struggles, she was a deeply committed and tireless WARRIOR.
Before her passing, before the suffering became too great, we talked about how the core mission of her mental health work might continue beyond her life. This initiative will fuel a multi-level approach to achieving results for those suffering with mental illness, and for their families and communities. Public awareness campaigns, lobbying efforts, and supporting a multitude of mental health programs big and small will be organized, prioritized and vigorously pursued.
The funds raised here will establish the Patty Duke Mental Health Initiative: the legal expenses, the formation of a board of directors, the establishing of a location, the hiring of an experienced executive director to manage professional fundraising, initial staffing and all of the costs associated with launching an endeavor of this sort.
Thank you for your love and support. On behalf of my mother, her husband, her children and grandchildren, her family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, supporters, partners and her adoring fans, I give a great big hug and much much love!!!
Yours, Sean Astin