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AspenPointe hosts annual fundraiser - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

AspenPointe hosts annual fundraiser

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Darrell Hammond is keynote speaker at annual AspenPointe fundraiser. Darrell Hammond is keynote speaker at annual AspenPointe fundraiser.
KOAA anchor Rob Quirk hosts AspenPointe fundraiser. KOAA anchor Rob Quirk hosts AspenPointe fundraiser.
COLORADO SPRINGS -

Leaders in mental health and wellness were honored Thursday at the Broadmoor as part of the Heroes of Mental Health Luncheon.

KOAA is a proud sponsor of the event, that is also a fundraiser for AspenPointe. Each year, the attendees help AspenPointe raise money for a community initiative. Last year, $18,000 was raised to help Youth mental Health First Aid, an award-winning public education program that helps teach recognition and response to signs of mental illness and substance abuse.

The event was hosted by KOAA anchor Rob Quirk, with Darrell Hammond formerly of Saturday Night Live. According to the AspenPointe website, Hammond is famous for his impressions of Bill Clinton, Sean Connery and Donald Trump, but his personal story of overcoming child abuse and substance misuse is less known. He now speaks at events about mental health challenges involving drug abuse and self-harm. He published a 2011 book about his struggles and inner turmoil.

This year's mental health "Hero of 2017", was local mother and community activist, Veronica Lewallen, who lost her 19 year old son to suicide three years ago. She has now taken that personal tragedy and transitioned to a community wide campaign of outreach, awareness and understanding of this disease, helping to shine a light on those resources that are available. In fact, the whole point of this luncheon each year is to raise money and awareness, to remove the stigma of even talking about mental health issues, let alone suicide. 

Proceeds from this year's luncheon will support the local Mental Health First Aid training program that teaches early signs of mental illness, anxiety, depression and addiction. Since the classes started in 2009, the organization said they have trained more than 4,200 people in the region.    

There are many ways to contribute to this important community cause that KOAA-TV has been a part of for so many years. The best way to contribute is to go to the website, www.aspenpointe.org, look for the word "DONATE" at the top of the page, or just select "bill me", and include your address and you will receive an invoice in the mail.

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