Neil became mentally challenged starting around his sophomore year at Manhasset High School. He was an outstanding athlete at Manhasset and at Canterbury. His skills in lacrosse and basketball began to erode, but his talents were so high, he still got a scholarship to college for lacrosse. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and his days of lacrosse and most things came to a halt. 15 years later his former lacrosse coach, Bob Rule, started telling his Manhasset Mid High students about his former star player, Neil Barber, and how courageous he is in battling his disease. The kids began an incredible journey in making Neil a star in another area, giving back to less fortunate families by collecting and donating food for the homeless. Today, Neil’s Wheels of New York represents the “Courage, Hope and Community” that works to address the urgent and mounting issues of the homeless community and the need for continued research into mental health issues in support of improved treatments and hopefully a cure. That’s why we have chosen the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation as our charity of choice for donations.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20 to 25% of the homeless population in the United States suffers from some form of severe mental illness. In comparison, only 6% of Americans are severely mentally ill (National Institute of Mental Health, 2009). In a 2008 survey performed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 25 cities were asked for the three largest causes of homelessness in their communities. Mental illness was the third largest cause of homelessness for single adults (mentioned by 48% of cities). For homeless families, mental illness was mentioned by 12% of cities as one of the top 3 causes of homelessness.*
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is committed to alleviating the suffering of mental illness by awarding grants that will lead to advances and breakthroughs in scientific research. For over a quarter of a century, we have awarded nearly $300 million worldwide to more than 3,000 scientists carefully selected by our prestigious Scientific Council. 100% of all donor contributions for research are invested in NARSAD Grants leading to discoveries in understanding causes and improving treatments of disorders in children and adults, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and anxiety disorders like obsessive-compulsive and post-traumatic stress disorders. For more information visit bbrfoundation.org.
All donations made payable to the “Brain & Behavior Research Foundation” are tax deductible.
*Published by the National Coalition for the Homeless, July 2009
For more information about Neils Wheels, please visit: http://www.neilswheelsny.com/