Father sets out to run 100 marathons in 140 days - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Father sets out to run 100 marathons in 140 days

By Ashley Conroy - email

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -- Guy Fessenden, 53, is on a journey from Savannah, GA to Los Angeles, CA.

"Our total goal is to do 100 in 140 days and right now we've completed 18 in 24," Fessenden said.

The native New Yorker is talking about running marathons, and the reason for him is simple.

"I'm doing this for my daughter Suzanne who's 28 years old and has spent 60 percent of the last 12 years in psychiatric hospitals."

Fessenden says his daughter was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 16.

He says he is determined to bring awareness about her illness and the severities of having a mental illness.

"I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to get up and spread the word about how hard things are for people who have mental illness."

One of Fessenden's stopped was in Jackson on Monday at a mental health summit discussing the need for better care for children with mental illness.

Lawmakers, health care professionals, and families were among the 140 attendees.

Rep. Steve Holland (D-Plantersville) says he hopes the event will inspire ideas for better support from families who have lived it.

"We're hoping we're going to see today, the culmination of many good minds who have come together in one room to help coordinate a plan of legislative action and provider action in treating children," Holland said.

Additionally, he says often families and consumers don't get the support they deserve.

"And unfortunately they're not heard always and they're not treated the way they should be in the system," Holland said.

For parent Betty Turner she too can relate to this and to Fessenden's story of his struggle with his daughter's mental illness.

"If they were getting what they needed they would do so much better in school, at home, churches, and what have you," Turner said.

Fessenden's says he trained extensively for this run, but realizes there will be battles along the way.

He says this battle will be nothing compared to what his daughter has been through.

"This run, this is my love for her. And that she sees as hope. That she sees that maybe something will change and things can get better."

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