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More than $18,000 raised for Mollie Tibbetts Memorial Fund for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

In May 2021, more than $18,000 was raised for the Mollie Tibbetts Memorial Fund for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry during the "Wave Across Iowa," a 100K (62-mile) run from Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City to the Public House in Davenport, Iowa.

The memorial fund supports mental health services for children and adolescents at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Tibbetts dreamed of being a child psychologist and her family says it is thankful to see money go to a cause she was passionate about.

“It's a cause that she really wanted to you know dedicate her life to, she wanted her job to be,” Mollie’s brother, Scott Tibbetts, told KCRG-TV. “Whenever she talked about it, it was something you could tell she felt strongly about, and I’m glad we were able to raise money in her name.”

Austin Chesney, the owner of the Public House, was one of the runners who took part in the Wave Across Iowa. He told WHBF-TV that he has been dealing mental health issues his whole life, and doesn’t want anyone else to go through what he did.

“A lot of people have issues with the stigma of mental health and trying to hide their struggles and I think that’s the power of depression,” Chesney said. “It makes people afraid to talk about it and feel ashamed and that’s not a reason to be afraid or be ashamed because you’re never alone in this journey of depression and anxiety. You can’t cure depression, but you can definitely outsmart it.”

Kurt Johnston, another runner who took part, told WHBF-TV that he has had to watch his daughter battle day in and day out with anxiety.

“It affects her, so I can see it with a lot of kids and especially with little kids. They go through so much,” Kurt Johnston said. “So much is changing in their life: Their hormones and growing, and other kids. And to be able to give back and give them programs that help them out that can help save a life, that’s what’s really important to me.”   

Johnston says after seeing his daughter deal with anxiety, he knows it’s something you need to tackle at a young age.

“Think about that fork in life,” he said. “If you don’t it can go this way, if you help them out and recover and learn how to deal with it and show people, really, that you support them.”

Mollie's mother, Laura Calderwood, told KGAN-TV of the donation, “it means everything to us. That’s why I started the fund.”

Scott Tibbetts, said, “running was something Mollie was really passionate about. It was her favorite thing to do in her free time. And then also that they’re raising it for a cause that she wanted to dedicate her life to in children's psychiatry, it just felt like a perfect fundraiser in that way."

Hanna Stevens, MD, PhD,  director of the UI division of child and adolescent psychiatry, said the department is already thinking of ways the large donation can be used, such as "how to increase outreach to our youth in the community, that will have an impact on their mental health as well as show young people that they can make a career for themselves out of mental health," said Stevens.

All of the runners from the Wave Across Iowa say they plan to do another long run in Brooklyn, Iowa, in September 2021 to raise more money for the Mollie Tibbetts Fund.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2021