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Saturday evening fun: NAMI Neon Night Run

Neon night-post

Folks eager for a Saturday evening out have a neat opportunity this weekend, with a family-friendly walk and run whose path will be lined with candle-lit luminaries.

Even better, it’s a fundraiser. The NAMI Neon Night Run is set for an 8 p.m. start at the Rogersville Community Park, 270 County Line Road.

The event is part of the PGA Korn Ferry Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper, which is benefitting nearly 50 Ozarks children’s charities. Among them is NAMI-Southwest Missouri. Its acronym stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness-Southwest Missouri, an organization that is going all out Saturday.

The event features food trucks, shaved ice, a glow trail, DJ Will and dancing, and a photo booth as well as a luminary and veteran garden. The Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company is providing beverages.

Sign up at Packet pick up is from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. Racers receive a custom glow-in-the-dark T-shirt. Call 417-887-3400.

Overall, this marks a decade for the event, which until about five years ago was called Illuminating for Darkness. Now it has a name – Neon Night Run – that is more befitting of NAMI’s mission.

“We didn’t want to focus on the darkness,” said Stephanie Appleby, Executive Director of NAMI Southwest Missouri. “Instead, we wanted to make this a fun event that focused on enabling others to talk about suicide as well as give us another way to advocate and educate the community. This event also helps us honor those we have lost to suicide, plus allows us to shine a light on the 22 veterans we lose a day to the illness.”

The impact of the event has been enormous, Appleby said.

“The proceeds from this event have enabled us to provide outreach in the community and provide the support groups that we run here at the NAMI Southwest Missouri Hope Center (in Springfield),” Appleby said.

NAMI has been part of the PCCC for almost a decade as well.

“NAMI decided to step forward with the PCCC because we believe that our mission strongly aligns with theirs,” Appleby said. “We believe in not only helping and educating the community, but we also believe in partnerships. When organizations partner together, great things can be accomplished and we both further our reach. The PCCC is an elite group of amazing charities that we are proud to be a part of.”