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July 15, 2005
Football Star Charity to Benefit Community
Most people who know the name Lionel Aldridge probably know his outstanding football record. During his tenure as a starting defense end for the Green Bay Packers, he helped lead the team to three straight NFL championships, and two Super Bowls. He was named All-Pro in 1964, and was inducted into the Packer Hall of Fame in 1988.
Many may not know that Lionel Aldridge also suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
As a result, this NFL champion, NBC sports analyst, and family man spent two years homeless on the Milwaukee streets, and 10 years battling with hallucinations, paranoia, and the other devastating symptoms of his brain disease.
After finally receiving beneficial treatment and achieving recovery from his illness, Aldridge became an outspoken mental illness advocate, working with such national organizations as NAMI.
Now, his two daughters are continuing his advocacy legacy with the vision of Lionel's House, a future community facility for support of people with mental illness (specifically schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression) and their families. According to its mission statement, The House will provide "information, education and counseling for children and families living with or supporting a family member with mental illness."
Although the physical house (planned to be completed in the Fall of 2005) will be located in Sherwood, WI, Angela and Michelle Aldridge have a much bigger vision. Through the internet (see the house's website), they plan to make the resources of Lionel's House (to include information on mental illness, support services, and the role of caretakers) available worldwide. Likewise, they hope to create more physical facilities for face-to-face counseling, group discussions, and guest speakers in other cities that desire such support.
The fundraising efforts to build Lionel's House are ongoing. In addition to collecting local and national business sponsors, the House recently completed a 2004 Walk/Run and a Raffle to help raise money to complete the building process. Eventually, they plan to add an auction and fundraising dinner.
The vision of Lionel's House is an appropriate tribute to the man who's name inspired its founding. Lionel Aldridge was an amazing person who turned his struggles of living with schizophrenia into support and hope for countless others. We can only hope to see more community treatment and support facilities like this emerge across the United States.
Thank you to the Aldridge family, and to all who are supporting this effort.
More information about Lionel's House - http://www.lionelshouse.com
More about Lionel Aldridge, football star
Posted by Julia at July 15, 2005 10:45 AM
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