Mental illness walk to remember shooting victims
Rep. Giffords and aide Gabriel Zimmerman will be honored
A mental illness fundraiser will do double duty on Saturday, raising funds for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Southern Arizona, NAMISA, and honoring victims of the Jan. 8 mass shooting.
Gabriel Zimmerman, 30, who was killed in the shooting, and U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will be honored at the walk. Giffords’ Cactus Roots Connectors supporters will be participating as a team, in honor of her aide Zimmerman, her office said.
The walk will be held at the Kino Sports Complex, formerly Tucson Electric Park, 2500 E. Ajo Way. Registration is free and can be completed at www.namiwalksaz.org. Check-in for participants starts at 7 a.m. and the walk begins at 9 a.m. Activities are scheduled to last until noon.
The event boasts plenty of entertainment for spectators who choose not to walk, including face painting, the University of Arizona cheerleaders, a mariachi band and a balloon maker. Dogs are allowed as long as they are on leashes.
A tribute for Giffords, Zimmerman and other victims of the shooting will take place at 8:30 a.m. In 2008 Giffords served as an honorary co-chairwoman for the NAMISA walk.
NAMISA is an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which promotes awareness for mental illness and helps individuals who are affected by it, according to the alliance’s website. Services in Southern Arizona are offered in English and Spanish.
A national discussion of mental illness was sparked by the apparent mental problems of Jared Lee Loughner, 22, who is accused of killing 6 and wounding 13 others on Jan. 8. Authorities have said that Loughner seems to have a mental illness. He was sent to Missouri last week to undergo a psychological exam, to determine his fitness to stand trial.