Breaking News
More () »

Team Jake walks to raise money for mental health awareness, remembering loved one

Following his loss, the Oakes family created Team Jake as a way to help other families be supported in their fight against mental illness.

AUSTIN, Texas — A local group walked on Saturday to help raise money for the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) while remembering a loved one they lost. 

On Oct. 1, a local group by the name of "Team Jake" walked as part of the regional "NAMIWalks Your Way" Central Texas campaign. The yearly campaign, which takes place in September, raises money through various local groups and culminates in a walk around Downtown Austin and the Long Center. 

Although the collective walk took place on Sept. 24, Team Jake's walk took place on Oct. 1 at the Arbor Trails in South Austin due to some of the team members being out of town the weekend prior. Team Jake Captain Marcia Oakes explained that the walk is to not only support those who are living with mental illness but to remember her son. 

"[Jake] is such a funny and quirky kid, just so sweet natured and introverted in bigger groups," Oakes said. "But, you know, when he was with his core friends and family, [he was] the life of the party." 

Credit: Marcia Oakes

Jake Oakes, Marcia Oakes' son, suffered from mental illness for years and lost his fight in 2015. Following his loss, the Oakes family created Team Jake as a way to help other families be supported in their fight against mental illness and further the research that goes into it. 

"This team started as a way for us to actively honor Jake and how bravely he battled his depression. But we also want to help more families just like ours, and we need your help to do it. What NAMI Central Texas offers to this community can change lives and can SAVE lives," the Oakes' donation page states.

Over the course of the last six years, Team Jake has raised $43,828 in donations for NAMI Central Texas. This year, all of the teams associated with NAMIWalks Your Way Central Texas raised a total sum of $275,165.

Gary Oakes, Jake's father, explained that helping ensure no other family experiences what his son struggled with is the reason the team continues to walk and raise money every year.

"That's why we do it, to, you know, to keep his memory alive ... and continue to try to raise money and keep awareness up so that we can, you know, make sure that this doesn't happen to other families because it's devastating," Gary Oakes said. 

KVUE on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube


'Just absolutely horrible' | Long-time Austin ISD teacher accused of verbal and emotional abuse, other violations

Texas Football Coach Steve Sarkisian has listed his home, but he's staying in the Austin area

Doctors, health experts share new recommendations for kids ahead of flu season

Before You Leave, Check This Out