JESSICA SWEITZER MEMORIAL FUND
When a young Olean mother lost her life to mental illness after struggling for 10 years with bipolar disorder and depression, her parents, Pat & Barb Sweitzer, wanted to turn her tragedy into a promise to help others fighting mental illness.
The Jessica Sweitzer Memorial Fund supports a program called Swizzy’s Cause – A Quality of Life for Individuals with Mental Illness. Swizzy’s cause officially began in 2016 and continues through a collaborative partnership with the YMCA of the Twin Tiers and the Rehabilitation Center.
People who suffer from bipolar and other mental illnesses struggle every day to fight the disease and its common side effects. It is a challenge to find a balance between the state of depression and a manic state. However, when balance is found, people can lead normal and productive lives. The fact is there are not enough needed resources or a coordination of the available resources in our community to give these people a chance. This is what Swizzy’s Causeaddresses.
BALANCE: Much research has proven that a balance of mind, body and spirit leads to healthy living. This is especially true and necessary for people with bipolar and other mental illnesses. Support services are limited in our community. Patients with bipolar may see a psychiatrist to get a prescription for necessary medication (usually every 6-8 weeks for about 15 minutes), see a counselor for talk therapy support (once every 2-3 weeks), and some may attend a support group when available. That may be the extent of the support services they receive – then they are left on their own to fight a disorder that is unpredictable and mentally painful. Swizzy’s Cause supports providing services in an environment that is welcoming and supportive.
QUALITY OF LIFE: The YMCA is an ideal place to provide these much needed services in a non-threatening manner and to add the balance of body, mind, and spirit through exercise, support groups, and volunteer opportunities. Swizzy’s Cause provides support for a care coordinator on staff at the Y who collaborates with the available service providers (psychiatrists, counselors, mental health services) and provide a sense of purpose in the patient’s everyday life through programs and services. The fund provides financial assistance to individuals who are unable to afford Y membership. In a nutshell, people are at their best when they are healthy and have purpose. The program also educates the community about the effects of mental illness and strategies to make it easier for those with mental illness.
Your support is needed:
2019 RALLY FOR A CAUSE BIG RAFFLE PRIZES!
1st Prize Vacation
2nd Prize Wine Tour
3rd Prize Spa Package
4th Prize Golf Outing for 4
5th Prize Movie Package for 4
FOR QUESTIONS OR MORE INFORMATION ON YMCA ENDOWMENTS CONTACT THE ASSOCIATION ADVANCEMENT DIRECTOR AT (716) 373-2400.