A Mother Tells Her Story

Joan Becker Clear Lake, IA

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Clear Lake, IA – The theme of this event is the “Roaring Twenties.”

And people are dressing up in they’re best flapper costumes to help celebrate a big milestone for the United Way of North Central Iowa.

But it’s not the costumes getting the most attention; instead, it’s a mother with a message.

“If you don’t feel like you’re getting the answers you need. If you don’t feel like your loved one is getting the direction they need then don’t stop. As I often say when I’m speaking instead of knocking on the door, knock the doors down,” said Joan Becker.

Joan Becker is the guest speaker for the event.

Her son, Mark Becker, suffers from schizophrenia.

And in 2009 he ended the life of his football coach Ed Thomas.

Since that life changing experience, Joan hasn’t been able to sit around; instead, she is sharing her family’s story

“That is the satisfaction we get people are hearing there is help and that its ok to seek that help and its ok to admit there are issue that what’s the difference between illness of heart to illness of mind,” said Joan.

One program Joan feels is working, is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and their dedication to getting the word out.

And Joan Sunde, President of the North Iowa Alliance on Mental Illness, says progress is being made in our area as well.

“I think we’re seeing success, we’re seeing more people being helped. I have a passion for the mentally ill and I will always volunteer and help out,” said Sunde.

Sunde says it’s the small things that can make a big difference.

“You know we can be a friend. You can be a friend. Something that we kind of started with in the group is finding someone that we feel needs a friend,” said Sunde.

And Joan couldn’t agree more.

“There are services out there to help families because as a family you feel very alone. You have no one you feel like you can talk to and I wan them to know their not alone, their not unique, and what they are experiencing is very real,” said Joan.

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