Shelly and Mark Terry
Since 2011, Shelly and Mark Terry have donated generously to NAMI at year end. When asked about their annual gift of $1,000, Shelly replies: “Mental illness doesn’t run in my family; it strolls through and takes its sweet time.”
True to form, Mark and Shelly will donate $1,000 this year. As we go into the final stretch of this year’s Give! campaign, they challenge other NAMI donors to match their generosity.
Why We Give & A Challenge to NAMI Donors
What motivated you to begin donating to NAMI in 2011? Was there a particular event or experience that got you started?
My son was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at the age of 21. Dealing with this mental illness prior to his diagnosis was almost more than I could handle. I reached out to NAMI when I thought my son’s life was in jeopardy from self-medicating. It was a daily struggle to know what to do and what not to do. NAMI was a listening ear and provided needed guidance.
You’re married, entrepreneurs and business partners. Why do you make it a priority to give so generously? Where does that spirit and practice of philanthropy come from?
I am married to a wonderful man who believes in helping others. Through owning his own business, he is able to help wonderful non-profits like NAMI. My husband and I deal with mental illness, within us or our loved ones. Mental illness is so misunderstood. We believe that the more we educate society about how to spot and deal with mental illness, the kinder and gentler we’ll be. We give generously to NAMI so that we can help families and their loved ones who are living with the daily struggles. Mental illness doesn’t run in my family; it strolls through, taking its time and waving as it goes by.
Your business, Right at Home Senior Care, provides in-home care to older adults and those who live with disabilities. How has this work changed you? Have you always had a heart for this type of work?
Right at Home has been an amazing blessing for us. Seniors are my passion, and those with Alzheimer’s are my true love. There is some kind of poetic justice about my passion for seniors that can’t communicate anymore. For some reason, God has given me the gift of understanding their needs and wants without words. Kind of what’s needed for understanding mental illness. Right at Home takes care of so many of our little loves (seniors). They deserve only the best care, and I am so proud that we can provide them with this love, kindness and support.
There are literally thousands of small nonprofits in Colorado Springs that address challenging health and social issues and provide important services. What is it about NAMI that “clicks” for you?
NAMI is striving to overcome some of the stigma and barriers that cause hatred and a lack of compassion for one another.