Schizophrenia Alliance exists primarily because of the remarkable efforts of Joanne Verbanic. That is not meant to minimize the remarkable efforts and participation by those who are involved with the organization, but without her efforts and insight as to what can help people who suffer from the illness, the organization would not be in existence in its present state. There are people who are recognized for many public accomplishments. There are those who take up popular causes. But there are remarkably few that take up causes and risk what Joanne did in reaching out to help others. The stigma and potential to suffer personal discrimination and loss of income and opportunity should not be understated. Her courage in following her desire to help others won out over taking the safe path and shielding from the view of others her own illness.
Much is made over the efforts of sporting figures who compete in sporting events after suffering an injury. As this is being written, Tiger Woods is playing in the 2008 US Open Golf Championship. There is talk of his his effort as being heroic. Determined and competitive, yes. Heroic? After viewing the following video, ask yourself who risked more. Joanne Verbanic took far greater personal risks and never was presented with the potential to gain popular and monetary rewards. We have plenty of competitors we view as heroes. Would it not seem as though we would have a better world if there were more heroes like Joanne?
Schizophrenia Alliance celebrated the 20th anniversary of their organization in 2005 with a video that conveys the message of hope and inspiration that organization brings to those who suffer from schizophrenia. We invite you to view the video to gain an understanding of the power of this valuable program.