PITTSBURG —  Two long-time friends who share the love of mental health and golf will host a special golf tournament to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s of Southeast Kansas and National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The friends, Tracey Noel and Dan McNally met each other through little league baseball.
Noel — being a little bit older — was umpire and McNally was on the team. There was even a running joke between Noel and McNally’s father from when Noel signed wrong during a game.

All fun and games set aside, the friends are coming together to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association - Heart of America Chapter and NAMI. Their love of golf was the hobby that sparked the idea.

They both consider themselves “big golfers” and have played in several tournaments and spent a lot of time on the golf course together.
“It’s good for your mental health too,” Noel added.  

Doing something to support their organizations has always been something the two had kicked around.
“We thought golf would be the way to go,” McNally said.

Throughout the years both had wanted to help people, they said. Noel is a United Healthcare worker and he and his wife LaShawn provide transportation services to people dealing with mental health issues who need to go to the hospital, including Alzheimer’s. He also supports the National Alzheimer’s Association and is part of the Heart of America Chapter of the organization.

McNally, is a therapist for Spring River Mental Health & Wellness and Pittsburg City Commissioner. He is on the steering committee of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“We always wanted to work with people and help out the most vulnerable of them,” McNally said.

They have planned a 3-person Golf Scramble for June 8 at Four Oaks Golf Course. During which, they plan to share with fellow golfers what their organizations are about. Following the tournament there will be a picnic and guest speakers.
“We’d love to get some money to the organizations, but ultimately, we want to get the word out about what we [their respective organizations] do in this area,” McNally said, for example information for caregivers and advocacy.

“This [Alzheimer’s] is very prevalent in this community,” Noel added.

The tournament also provides a way for the community to learn what their organizations do locally.
“The most important thing we want people to know what we can do locally,” McNally said, which includes local hotlines and guiding people with mental health issues in the right direction.

The funds raised will be split between the two organizations, Noel and McNally said. Part of it will go to support the Alzheimer’s Walk and the other half will help NAMI provide more services and programming.

Want to go?
The 3-person Golf Scramble will be at June 8 at Four Oaks Golf Course, 910 Memorial Drive, Pittsburg. Registration is at 7 a.m. and shotgun start will be at 8 a.m. Entry fee is $150 per team.
Free range balls available.

Sponsors are still being accepted. People can send entry fees or sponsorships to NAMI/Alzheimer’s Golf Tournament ℅ Dan McNally, PO Box 1845, Pittsburg, KS, 66762 or ℅ Tracy Noel, PO Box 1845, Pittsburg, KS, 66762. For more information people can contact Noel and McNally at teeupformentalhealthpitt@gmail.com.

About Alzheimer’s & Alzheimer’s Association
According to a release from Noel and McNally, the Alzheimer’s Association - Heart of America Chapter serves 66 counties in Kansas and Missouri. The chapter provides resources such as education, training, and support programs and services to more than 50,000 individuals and 200,000 family members and care partners in the chapter’s serving area who are “suffering the emotional, physical, and financial” challenges of Alzheimer’s disease.

“There’s a lot of unpaid family members and caregivers for folks with Alzheimer’s,” Noel said.

• 7.7 million American are living with Alzheimer’s and by 2020 it is projected to rise to nearly 14 million.

• Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

• 16.1 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.

• Six in 10 caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia were employed in the past year while providing help. These individuals worked 53 hours per week while caregiving.

• Nearly one-quarter of dementia caregivers are in the “sandwich generation” — meaning they care not only for an aging parent, but also for children under the age of 18.

• With 83 percent of care at home being provided by family members, friends or other unpaid caregivers, the personal impact of Alzheimer’s is far-reaching.

• Alzheimer’s takes a disruptive toll in the workplace too: 57 percent of employed caregiver had to go in late, leave early or take time off because of caregiver demands.

People can learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and the Alzheimer's Association online at alz.org.

(Information provided by the Alzheimer’s Association website)

About NAMI
National Alliance on Mental Illness is a national grassroots organization developed two support advocate and educate on mental health issues. The organization is active in all 50 states.
“The main thing for NAMI is, is that we have somebody man a crisis hotline where they can call and get guided in the right direction,” McNally said adding that the hotline can guide people to resources.

The organization hosts confidential local peer support groups which people suffering from mental illness along with providing support for family and friends.

The NAMI family support group and a NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group meet on the second Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at South Broadway Baptist Church. The NAMI Connection Recovery Support group (individuals living with mental illness) meet on the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at South Broadway Baptist Church.

Key mental health statistics:
• 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. lives with a mental health condition.
• 1 in 25 (11.2 million) adults in the U.S. lives with a serious mental illness.
• 46.6 million adults in the U.S. face the day-to-day reality of living with a mental illness.
• Half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24, but early intervention programs can help.

People can learn more about warning signs, conditions and treatment online at www.nami.org.
People can also visit the group’s Facebook page at NAMI Southeast Kansas.
(Information provided by NAMI website)