In 2011, Rebecca Partesotti died from suicide after a years-long battle with depression. Rebecca’s parents Susan and Larry Partesotti, her sister Mollie Partesotti; along with Susan’s brother (Rebecca’s uncle) Tommy Siniard, his wife Susan Siniard and sister Paula Siniard Tally (Rebecca’s aunt) established the Partesotti-Siniard Memorial Fund for Psychiatric Research in her honor at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.

“When Rebecca was in the second grade her mom and I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. ‘I want to be someone who helps old people’ was her reply,” said Larry Partesotti, Rebecca’s father. “Twenty years later, Rebecca’s compass was still heading to True North as she was supervising The Elder Division of Maryland Legal Aid. Shortly thereafter, mental illness cut her career and eventually her life short. The thought of potentially making continued progress into creating solutions and cures to mental health issues is something that is very important to Susan and me and we are glad to move forward with our daughter, Mollie, Paula and the Siniard family in this important work.”

Since 1949, the month of May has been deemed Mental Health Month to raise awareness about mental illness and related issues in the U.S. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health Issues, 43.8 million adults experience mental illness in a given year. Ninety percent of individuals who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness.

“No one wants to talk about it, but it’s as real as the rain and as lethal as cancer,” said Siniard, an attorney at the law firm of Siniard, Timberlake & League. “We want to spread awareness of mental illnesses such as depression and make life better for millions of Americans.”

The Myers lab at HudsonAlpha, led by President and Science Director Rick Myers, PhD, is making advances in neurological and psychiatric diseases, including major depressive disorder.

“Our researchers are working every day to make discoveries that will improve the lives of individuals suffering from some of the most devastating diseases like depression,” said Myers. “Support from the Partesotti-Siniard family brings us one step closer to doing so.”

“We believe in the research that is happening at HudsonAlpha so we established this fund to not only honor Rebecca, but accelerate advancements in psychiatric disorders,” said Susan Partesotti, Rebecca’s mother.

Named funds at HudsonAlpha can be designated to contribute to the work of the Institute or to specific areas of research. Individuals can donate to an existing fund or establish a fund of their own, such as the Partesotti-Siniard Memorial Fund for Psychiatric Research.

If you would like to contribute, visit support.hudsonalpha.org and specify Partesotti-Siniard Memorial Fund in the comments section. To learn more about establishing a named fund at HudsonAlpha, visit www.hudsonalpha.org/named-funds.

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