By Amanda Hatfield
BREVARD -- Chances are high that you've seen someone wearing the immensely popular To Write Love on Her Arms merchandise.
Founded in 2006 by Brevard County resident Jamie Tworkowski, TWLOHA has been challenging society's view of mental health and connecting those who are struggling with the precious resources they need.
While the nonprofit is most commonly associated with some of today's top music acts, as well as local surfing phenomenon, CJ Hobgood, To Write Love on Her Arms is branching into an entirely new and exciting arena.
On Saturday, April 20, TWLOHA will host its inaugural "Run For It" 5K at the David R. Schechter Community Center in Satellite Beach. The goal of the 5K is to raise awareness about the connect between mental and physical health.
"I found running to be therapeutic for me in the past," said Holly Hallum, race director and staff member for TWLOHA, in a press release. "Challenging myself to go farther and faster gave me something to work toward and feel accomplished by."
Ms. Hallum decided that hosting a 5K in TWLOHA's backyard would be the best place to start.
"The 5K is a new and exciting opportunity for us to reach into our local community and share not only our mission, but positive ways for those who are struggling to cope with their issues."
Born out of the idea that running -- or physical activity in general -- can improve one's mental health, Ms. Hallum said that everyone has a different motivation for hitting the pavement.
"'Run For It' is a way for us to encourage our supporters and those running the race to think about why they run," she said. "Whether it's for well-being, enjoyment, healing or in memory of a loved one, there is purpose behind every step."
In forming the event, To Write Love on Her Arms has been working with Dr. Mike Ronsisvalle of the Florida Counseling Center.
"The 5K is the brainchild of Holly Hallum from our team," said Jamie Tworkowski, TWLOHA founder. "For us, it's a chance to bring our message to our local community, to engage local runners and also to invite the community to support the mission of TWLOHA,"
Open to participants of all ages and backgrounds, the proceeds earned from TWLOHA's "Run For It" 5K will go directly toward the nonprofit, as it furthers its mission of presenting hope and finding help for those who struggle with depression, addiction, self-harm and suicide.
"We will use these funds to encourage, inform, inspire and invest directly into treatment and recovery," Ms. Hallum added.
"Run For It" 5K will also host a wealth of mental health resources, as well as other local nonprofit organizations for participants to get information from. There will also be a raffle drawing for prizes following the race.
"We want this event to be community-oriented, allowing our runners to feel comfortable seeking out help if they need it," Ms. Hallum said. "We want our participants to feel supported."
The most important thing, Ms. Hallum added, is that those who need help are heard.
"Their story matters," she said. "We want them to know they are not alone in whatever struggles they may be experiencing."
To Write Love on Her Arms is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit movement, dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.
For more information about TWLOHA, visit www.twloha.com.
The "Run For It 5K" fundraiser is April 20 at the David R. Schechter Center in Satellite Beach. The race begins at 8 a.m.
Cost is $20 for early registration and $25 on race day.
To sign up for the "Run For It" 5K, visit wrt.lv/RunForIt5kRegister.
Volunteers are still needed between 6:45 - 10 a.m. Those interested in volunteering should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.