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Sailor Brinkley Cook and Jack Brinkley Cook Lead More Than 750 Participants at Fourth Annual Race of Hope to Defeat Depression

By HRES Staff Writer - August 5, 2019
Race Of Hope Start Line Photo

(Monday, August 5, 2019 – New York, NY) – More than 750 men, women, and gathered on a sunny Sunday morning in Southampton to take part in Hope for Depression Research Foundation’s (HDRF) fourth annual Race of Hope to Defeat Depression.  

The high-energy crowd set out at 8:30 AM to complete a tree-lined 5K course around Lake Agawam. Race Co-Grand Marshals Sailor Brinkley CookJack Brinkley Cook, HDRF Founder Audrey Gruss, and Board member Arthur Dunnam led the way. The USA Track and Field-sanctioned race raised more than $275,000 for advanced depression research, setting a new record for the event.  

Speaking from the steps of the Southampton Cultural Center just before the starting gun, HDRF Founder and Chair Audrey Gruss said, “In the United States, depression is the leading cause of suicide, and affects more than 18-million adults each year. Among teens, depression and suicide rates are the highest on record. We are working to turn the tide on depression and suicide in this country, but we can’t do it without your help, so thank you all for coming out to support the cause today.”

Hope was in abundant supply as everybody sported caps and tech shirts in HDRF’s signature sunshine yellow. The competitive runners, joined by Sailor Brinkley Cook and Jack Brinkley Cook, burst through the starting line, followed by first-time runners, walkers, corporate teams, families, children, and plenty of canine friends. 

Following the race, Audrey Gruss and her team presented medals for best times in various age categories. Dan Gargaro won the best time in the Adult Male category, and Tara Farrell won the best time in the Adult Female category. Griffin Schwartz, age 13, won for best youth male (13-15), and Lily Kurmanick, age 13, won for best youth female (13-15). Gruss then presented Arthur Dunnam with an award for Top Fundraising Team, and Scott Snyder with an award for Top Individual Fundraiser. Kim Heirston received the runner up award, and a notable mention highlighting that $10,000 of the funds she had raised had been donated by Oprah Winfrey

All race participants received a shirt, finisher medal, reflective race hat and a long-sleeve 1/4 zip pullover.  The first, second, and third place winners received cash prizes of up to $500. Successful fundraisers also received prizes for raising upwards of $250 and $1,000. 

This year’s Race of Hope once again was the grand finale of the Week of Hope, a village-wide campaign in Southampton to raise mental health awareness.  The Week was launched on Thursday, July 25, at Ralph Lauren. Two hundred local business owners including Brook’s BrothersJ. CrewThe White Company, the Southampton Arts Center, the Southampton Chamber of Commerce, and Southampton Town Hall “turned yellow” by placing two-foot-wide yellow statement balloons (environmentally safe and re-usable) by their front door to symbolize hope and their commitment to changing the staggering statistics around depression. 

Additional Race participants included: The Watermill Center’s Robert Wilson, Southampton Hospital’s Steve BernsteinHilary Geary RossMarigay McKee and Bill FordLisa M. AeryJamee and Peter GregoryMartin GrussCampion Platt and his children, Samantha Gregory and Roberto Benabib with their daughter, Carolina Gregory-BenabibSomers FarkasJanna BullockLucia Hwong GordonCarol MackTom and Clelia ZachariasSusan and Joe MeyerSerena BowmanNona Collin and Karen and Richard LeFrak

The Race of Hope was supported by Southampton residents including Jamee and Peter GregoryKim HeirstonLeonard and Judy LauderMarigay McKee and Bill FordKitty & Bill McKnight IIIThomas C. QuickScott SnyderLisa M. Aery,Serena BowmanSharon BushSusan GutfreundYaz and Valentin HernandezThe Honorable and Mrs. Earle MackMargo M. and James L. NederlanderRobert NederlanderHilary Geary Ross, and Clelia and Tom Zacharias

The Race of Hope starts the lead-in to HDRF’s 13thAnnual Luncheon Seminar which will be held on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The event will focus on “Depression and Anxiety; Diagnosis and Latest Treatments,” and will salute the research progress of HDRF’s acclaimed team of world-renowned brain researchers.  

Audrey Gruss founded HDRF in April 2006 in memory of her mother Hope, who struggled with clinical depression. Today, HDRF is the leading nonprofit organization focused solely on depression research and public education. The World Health Organization has declared depression as the leading cause of disability worldwide, but despite its prevalence, depression is still misunderstood, underfunded and under-researched. The mission of the HDRF is to fund innovative neuroscience research into the origins, medical diagnosis, new treatments, and prevention of depression and its related mood disorders – bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder, and suicide.

To date, HDRF has provided more than $30-million through over 125 grants for breakthrough depression research that promises to transform the way depression is viewed, diagnosed, treated and prevented. 

What is HDRF, and a quick overview of their work/achievements in the past decade:

  • HDRF is the leading non-profit dedicated solely to advanced depression research.  
  • Audrey Gruss founded the organization in 2006 in memory of her mother, Hope, who struggled with depression.
  • The mission of HDRF is to fund cutting-edge neuroscience research into the origins, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of depression and other related mood disorders.
  • In 2010, HDRF launched its Depression Task Force – a collaboration of seven leading scientists, at the frontiers of brain science, from different research institutions across the U.S. and Canada. To accelerate breakthrough research, they share ongoing results, in real-time, at the HDRF Data Center.

About Depression:

  • In the United States, depression affects more than 20-million adults each year – that is one in ten adults.
  • Depression is the leading cause of suicide. In the United States, one person dies by suicide every 12 minutes – over 41,000 people per year.
  • Depression is the number one cause of disability worldwide.
  • Depression costs society $210-billion annually – 60% of which represents reduced efficiency at work and costs related to suicide.

The Crisis in Research and Treatment  

  • More than 50% of those diagnosed with depression do not respond to existing treatments.   
  • Although depression is one of the most serious and prevalent conditions in the US, it is ranked 77th (out of 250) in the amount of federal funding it receives.
  • Most of the major pharmaceutical companies have discontinued brain research.

What Makes HDRF Different

  • The Depression Task Force represents the most innovative approach to neuroscience research today.
  • The Task Force has created an unprecedented research plan with each member executing a piece of the plan in their laboratories. They are not going down well-worn paths of research. They have identified major challenges in the field and are laser-focused on the areas where the field is stuck.
  • They share results in real-time at a centralized data bank. This allows them to leverage data to accelerate research. This is unheard of in the entire scientific research field which is normally competitive and not collaborative.

For additional information, please contact Mimi Richman at R. Couri Hay Creative PRT: 1-212-580-0835 E:

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