Peter Classi was introduced to the Josh Anderson Foundation from college friend, John O’Reilly, boyfriend of Lauren Anderson. John had included Peter in the email he sent out to friends and family when he was raising money for the 2012 National Half Marathon in March. When Peter heard about Josh’s story and what JAF was all about, he knew “he couldn’t not donate to such a cause.”
Peter, and best buddy at work, Michael Damiano, decided a week before the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon to 1) compete in the event without training and 2) run the race for a cause they believe in – mental wellness. Peter and Mike both work in neuroscience at the pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly, and support drugs that combat depression, schizophrenia and ADHD. In their work, they conduct market research with people suffering from these conditions. They are all too familiar with the stigma and ignorance surrounding mental health. Peter and Mike understand that mental illnesses are medical diseases, just like diabetes and high blood disease – yet most people do not have that perspective. Peter also has family members who struggle with depression, making this cause very personal to him.
On race day, May 5, 2012, the sun was shining. Peter and Mike ran in JAF tank tops, happy to support such a great cause. It was tough for them to run 13.1 miles without training, yet with JAF across their chests and 50 donors behind them, they found the strength to persevere.
When asked how he felt about going over the fundraising goal of $2,000, Peter said “it speaks volumes about the foundation and how important this cause is.” In total, Peter and Mike raised $2,435, yet Peter was more impressed with the sheer number of donors. Whether it was $20 or $100, 50 of Peter and Mike’s friends, co-workers and family, took the time to support mental wellness.
Thank you Peter and Michael and all their supporters for contributing to the mission of the Josh Anderson Foundation!