Six hundred participants break the silence of mental illness during SOS race

16th annual Race benefits Postpartum Resource Center of New York


It was impossible not to feel hopeful and inspired at Walker Beach in Brightwaters on Saturday, May 18, when over 600 people participated in 16th annual Sounds of Silence 5K Run/Walk and 10K Run.

All monies raised from the event benefit the Postpartum Resource Center of New York, a nonprofit organization that increases awareness and access to care for families at risk of or experiencing a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder (PMAD), including postpartum depression. The resource center accomplishes their mission by increasing education, screening, and treatment, as well as providing support programs and services, and training health care providers.

Sounds of Silence, a fundraising committee for the resource center, was created by sisters Lisa Mary Reilly and Erin Mascaro after Reilly experienced postpartum depression. The duo decided to make a difference after witnessing and experiencing the stigma surrounding mental illness firsthand, and the silent suffering that comes with it.

The annual Sounds of Silence 5K/10K Run/Walk was organized by both sisters until Reilly succumbed to depression in 2014. Despite the heartbreak, Mascaro continued organizing the race in Reilly’s honor, vowing to continue breaking and silence and celebrating her sister each and every day.

Tragically, the family endured another tragedy and heartbreak when Mascaro’s sister, Susanne, lost her battle with mental illness.

“We were left with the question, with all of our work and awareness of mental illness, how could this happen?” shared Mascaro. “Mental illness is silent; it does not discriminate against anyone. We were again reminded of the true meaning behind Sounds of Silence, and we are determined to increase the conversation of mental health awareness and connect families suffering from mental illness with the essential resources of The Postpartum Resource Center of NY.”

Approximately 600 participants supported the cause Saturday morning, taking to the streets to break the silence of mental illness.

At Walker Beach, a DJ kept the spirits high as attendees pursued through a variety of raffle baskets and a $10,000 50/50, purchased custom SOS merchandise, and children enjoyed a crafts and face paint booth. The Postpartum Resource Center of New York also had an informational booth offering resources.

Participants had the options of a 5K Run/Walk, or a 10K run. Inspirational banners on the front lawns of Brightwaters homes on the race route reminded participants that they matter, their story matters, they are worth the work, and to always take care of themselves.

“Two years ago, I actually walked the course, and it is really moving to read all the banners as you move through the course,” added Brightwaters mayor John Valdini. “It is a really nice feel-good event for a worthy cause.”

In seeing the walkers and runners enthusiastically crossing the finish line, it was clear the race created an intimate connection of community, hope, and empowerment among all participants.

When asked about the event’s success and longevity over the past 16 races, Mascaro had an important message to share.

“The awareness of the event has been a success, but the work is never done. There is no finish line with mental illness; the struggle is ongoing for so many every day. Success in my mind is the conversation that comes during and after the event—continued connections, building a better community to combat the silence of postpartum depression and mental illness,” explained Mascaro. “Connecting families to the services of the Postpartum Resource Center of New York is essential, and if this event bridges that connection for one family, we made an impact.”


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