By Alysha Clark
The chatter had been circling the Chrysalis Clubhouse for months. Cody Vogel- a two year colleague of the Clubhouse wanted to race in the 11th Annual Moving for Mental Health along with 120 other people in the community. His dream was to get the fastest time. To prepare, Cody raced Chrysalis Clubhouse members- including Chrysalis Clubhouse Supervisor Kathy Ziegert, “KZ.”
But this isn’t KZ’s first time running- she has completed several triathlons and even an Ironman. Her other passion is supporting people with significant mental health challenges in finding community through the Clubhouse model. So combining her two passions of running and supporting Cody, a Clubhouse colleague- just made sense.
On Sunday, May 1st, Cody was on the start line and KZ on a bike ready to lead the race and ensure everyone’s safety. But KZ saw another opportunity- coach Cody along the way as he ran this 5K. KZ reminded Cody to pace himself when he started, he had a long way to go.
Moving for Mental Health is a beautiful route along the lake in Madison, Wisconsin but it also can have some confusing turns and with the slight rain showers, it can be slippery. KZ knew this all too well with her own training and she was in Cody’s ear the whole race, “slow down, your legs are turning to jelly, there isn’t anyone behind you”, “careful on the bridge it could be slippery.” Cody stayed focused, determined to prove to himself that he could do this.
As Cody came over the bridge he was cheered on by Chrysalis staff, community members and Clubhouse colleagues, passing the finish line in first place. Cody’s smile was so big we could barely see his eyes.
“I was moved to tears watching Cody reach his goal with KZ by his side encouraging him every step of the way. I was witnessing the transformation that can happen when someone is supported within a Clubhouse! If everyone with a significant mental health challenge could have people supporting them like KZ did that day- we would understand what community care really means.” -Alysha Clark, Certified Peer Specialist and Director of Advocacy and Operations at Chrysalis.