My Dream: To See a Sea of Team Daniel Shirts Running for a Cure!

Me (Rob) and my kids Hannah, Daniel and Rachel

By Rob Laitman
Runner, Father, Donor – Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Five years ago my son Daniel was diagnosed with schizophrenia and our lives were turned upside down. He was just starting his sophomore year of high school when he was diagnosed and was in and out of hospital day programs for much of that year. Over the next 2 years we would see many doctors and Daniel would be on many different medications. While he is now on a medical regimen that he is doing well on, and while he finished high school on time in a great program and is now in community college, we all long for the day when his disease will be cured, not just kept under control. He still has symptoms most days and has learned to live with them, but we would love for him to be free of “the voices”.

Last January, Daniel, Daniel’s sister Hannah, their cousin Joey, and myself ran the Disney World Half-Marathon together and raised almost $15,000 for the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.  That was just the beginning! On January 7,2012, we did it again.  We participated again in the Disney Half Marathon, and I ran the full marathon the next day. The weekend was great! Hannah, Daniel, Rachel and I finished the half marathon in about 2 hrs 37 minutes…..Rachel has not run for almost a year, but she finished! I completed the full marathon in 3 hours and 19 minutes, which is faster than I planned – I felt great!

We all know someone with a mental illness and we can all be part of the search to find better treatments and cures for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and eating disorders and the many other types of mental illness that are out there. I hope they never affect you, but chances are that one of them will touch you or someone you love. Help us to raise funds for research and you be part of the cure!

We aren’t finished! There are more marathons this year. Would you like to join us? Whether or not you are a runner, I would like to invite you to support Team Daniel and TeamUp!  Please share this blog link with family and friends, make a donation, or even better, join us in a run! (See our schedule below.) I am really hoping to recruit more Team members. What an inspiration it would be to see a sea of Team Daniel / BBRF tee shirts running in the marathon!

I personally offer to support runners up to $1000 if they raise at least $5000 for the Foundation.  I will do this up to 10 runners. 

For more information about joining Team Daniel please email my wife Ann or myself: Ann Laitman at anncmandel@aol.com or Robert Laitman at rslaitman@aol.com.

Team Daniel marathons in support of Brain & Behavior Research Foundation:
•    Boston Marathon, April 2012
•    New Jersey Marathon, May 2012
•    New York Marathon, November 2012

We are in the lottery for…
•    Chicago, Illinois
•    St. George, Utah

Please enjoy this video “Grateful” –  written and performed by my daughter Rachel Laitman:

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7 thoughts on “My Dream: To See a Sea of Team Daniel Shirts Running for a Cure!

  1. My daughter, Danielle was also diagnosed with Schizophrenia when she just finished high school starting college in 2001. Our lives were turned upside down too with all of the doctors and meds to find out why and what can be done! I am still in denial and she is finally on the right meds after trying 20 different kinds. She has been hospitalized 2 times so far and no parent wants to see their child in lock down. She was the youngest of her group and most of the time their are more males than females. Now in 2012 she is still trying to get back on track but all of her friends left her and she has no girl friends. I’m her best friend and I’ve left my job to stay at home to help her. I got her to try Hope House that will help her with some direction for her to take to be part of society. Thank you for all you are doing to find a cure for this dreadful disease. Good luck!

    Lillian

    1. Dear Lillian,
      Hope House sounds like a great place to engage and connect Danielle with opportunities to further enrich her life. Clubhouse community offers respect, hope, mutuality and unlimited opportunity to access the same worlds of friendship, housing, education, healthcare and employment as the rest of society. For additional information on the International Center for Clubhouse Development, ICCD, please visit their website at http://www.iccd.org/mission.html

    2. Lillian never give up. Daniel too lost most of his High School friends. Only his best friend Sarah has stuck with him through thick and thin. However as Daniel has continued to improve he has made new friends. Social isolation can be devastating so I applaud your efforts. Both my wife Ann and I struggled for years to get Daniel on a regimen that included clozapine as his bedrock medicine. What we have learned is that despite this being the most effective single treatment you need other stragegies to fight this illness. Ann and I are both physicians and I am a gerontologist so we started with a bit of an advantage. General recommendations that make clozapine and other antipsychotics more tolerable include using metformin to decrease the metabolic side effects and the weight gain. I can not over emphasize the importance of exercise. Daniel runs 5-6 days/week and averages 35-40 miles/week. Daniel’s regimen also includes provigil in the morning to help with sedation, lamictal a seizure med often used for patients with bipolar illness lifted his mood. He sufferred significant OCD and we treated this with lexapro and cognitive behavioral tx. Cognitive problems have slowly improved with the addition of some of the drugs I use for senile dementia. Specifically he is on Namenda and Aricept. Another problem that the aricept helps with is the constipation. For constipation we also used miralax and colace and lots of fiber in his diet. On reading this back it all sounds a bit overwhelming. I am not saying that this is a regimen for everyone but it is an example of what can be done. Daniel has trimmed down to 132 lbs on his 5ft 6 inch frame from close to 160lbs. More importantly he has a 3.57 average and will finish his associate degree in film at Westchester Community College this Spring. His applications are in and we are hoping for the prestigious film program at New York’s SUNY in Purchase.

      1. Lillian and Danielle both Ann and I wish you our best. If we can ever be of any help please feel free to contact us. Sorry about being so long winded. Rob

  2. Wow! 3 hours 19 minutes – AMAZING! I have yet to break the 4:00 mark, I’m hoping 2012 is my year. It sounds like you plan on doing this for a while so if one of these years you come to Minnesota to do the Twin Cities Marathon, I’ll try to recruit some people along with myself to join you.
    Kathy Robbins – loving mother of Jonathon who lost his battle with schizophrenia

  3. Kathy I am so sorry for your loss. Kathy I will gladly take you up on your offer. I would feel honored to pace you and any other friends you could recruit to a sub 4 hour marathon. We really do need to raise awareness and money to combat the devastation that mental illness causes. Let me know. Running can be so therapeutic, andthe need is so great. Thanks Rob

  4. Kathy Twin Cities Marathon runs the same day as Chicago and the day after Saint George. I am in the lottery for both of these events. How about Granmas Marathon in 6/12 in Duluth? I am open to suggestions. Rob

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