My dad was the best at nicknames; everyone in our family had one. Mik and I are Boo Boo and The Mikker. He had quite a few himself throughout his life, too. He was known as Scotty, Scamp, and Stallion (to name a few!), but the one that really stuck was Scooter.

He wouldn’t let Mik call him “Mr. Scampini” when they met, and once his first grandson was born, “Grandpa” didn’t really suit him, so Scooter it was. His affinity for nicknames was just one of the MANY things that made my dad the wonderful, unique guy he was. He was handsome, charming, smart, goofy, loving, business-savvy, and quite the golfer.

He also lived most of his life with depression and bipolar disorder, but I didn’t really know about it until I was in my late twenties.  He didn’t let it define him. Unfortunately, though, like many individuals with mental illness, he was also ashamed to discuss it with his parents, closest friends, and even with us, his own family.

He lost his battle with depression and mental illness in October 2013, and I still can’t believe he’s gone. I also can’t imagine the isolation he felt hiding this massive struggle for his entire life.

Mental illness is just that – an illness. It’s no different than heart disease or cancer; people are fighting every day, and these diseases do not discriminate. If you had met my dad, you would never have guessed he was sick. That’s one of the scariest and saddest parts of mental illness – so many people struggle silently.

So, we’re going to take some time and money out of our trip to dedicate our #Scooting4Scooter. Every dollar we spend on scooting (which we hope to do in every country!), we’ll match and donate to BringChange2Mind. It might not be much, but it’s something.  And more importantly, we hope to shed some light and chip away at the wall of stigma surrounding mental illness.

We invite you to join us on each scooter ride through our photographs and videos, with a soundtrack provided by Scooter’s favorite tunes. Perhaps you’ll feel inclined to match our donations. (*If you do decide to match us, mention #Scooting4Scooter in your comments, please.)

Or, better yet, help break down the wall and foster a community of support:  Share your story with BringChange2Mind.

Originally published on Becca and Mik’s Blog, Major Departure.


4 responses to “#Scooting4Scooter”

  1. Laura says:

    What a great man. What a great story. I agree with every word you said. If not for this evil stigma, more of us that suffer from mental illness would not feel ashamed and alone. If we had the support that cancer patients do (or any other disease) we would have an army of supporters around us- including people we didn’t even know!!!! God forbid our brains get sick, we’re abandoned. We all deserve the same army of support that other diseases receive, but instead we are like prisoners of our own war. I love the way you described your Dad. He sounds like one hell of a Guy. God bless him. God bless you and your family. You are all loved and prayers are coming your way from Chicago. Godspeed, my Friend 🙂

  2. Regina says:

    I would like my son to know that the things I did and the things he saw were not my fault and I am very sorry. I don’t know how to make it up to you or if I will ever be able to. I was in my own world and thought other things were going on rather than reality. I am so thankful he still wanted to live with me after the doc finally found the right meds for me. There’s nothing I can do to change the past but I am taking it moment by moment to be as normal as I can. I would like for him to do some research on schizoaffective disorder so maybe he will understand. He is my whole world. I love him so much.

  3. Regina says:

    You really find out who your real friends and family are when word gets out about your illness. There are some very childish and cruel adults in this world. There’s some gems that I love very much too.

  4. Regina says:

    You should never feel ashamed or alone. I enjoy my me time. Its better than spending it with someone who holds stigma against you. And you don’t have to change the types of people you hang out with. I have four close friends with the same illness I have and we don’t judge each other..

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