NAMI Dane County is dedicated to supporting and empowering everyone touched by mental illness. We commit to eliminate stigma and nurture recovery through education, support, advocacy, and outreach.
Katherine and Ben Perreth to be Keynote Speakers at 2014 Awards Banquet
NAMI Dane County is excited to announce Katherine and Ben Perreth will be the keynote speakers at its 2014 Awards Banquet to be held March 11 at The Madison Concourse Hotel.
In Katherine Perreth’s award-winning book, Making Lemonade With Ben: The Audacity to Cope, she recounts the myriad repercussions stemming from her seven-year-old, Ben’s, massive brain hemorrhage. Deftly wielded humor (one of her main coping strategies), heart-wrenching candor, and an informal style reach out from the pages. The pathos of Making Lemonade With Ben led to a 2013 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award contest medal for“Non-fiction: Inspirational.”
Making Lemonade With Ben is a compelling Cinderella story tracing sixteen years of Ben’s life. It begins with the night a University of Wisconsin Hospital neurosurgeon saved comatose Ben’s life, and follows him through young adulthood. Although Ben encounters years of substantial obstacles, his never-say-die cheery attitude ultimately carries him to the White House as a community representative for the Madison Children’s Museum.
Universal themes of perseverance and compassion encourage readers to contemplate contemporary issues: mental illness treatment, recovery and stigma, the role of intentional employers in the lives of those with disabilities, and the success that can occur when a community values all of her citizens. In short, love wins.
“With wry humor that lightens but also wrenches depending on the moment, Perreth shares the effects on her marriage and younger children and salutes those who held them up, particularly mental health advocates at Madison’s Yahara House.”
- Karyn Saemann, Madison Magazine, August 2013
“It is amazing how Katherine Perreth’s engaging sense of humor shines through even in the most difficult of situations. The author succeeds in removing the stigma that comes with mental illness. Above all, this inspiring story proves that love, mixed with a healthy dose of humor, can conquer all.” – Maria Beltran for Readers’ Favorite
“A poignant memoir, full of hope and deep, abiding love. The life lessons she shares in this lengthy memoir make it a worthwhile read; the Perreths’ perseverance, and Ben’s continually sunny disposition—despite having to relearn how to walk more than once—are truly humbling. A bold, honest account of surviving tragedy and living with disability.” – Kirkus Reviews
Katherine holds UW-Madison Social Work and Sociology degrees, is a reporter for her hometown newspaper, the Middleton Times Tribune, and conducts a class on reminiscence writing. In addition, in her role as administrative staff with WESLI (an ESL school on the capitol square), she deals in chalk. And paper. Lots of paper.
Ben, age 25, lives on his own in downtown Madison and is a member of Yahara House. Wearing his ankle-foot-orthosis with a smiley face on the back, Ben juggles one-handed at the Madison Children’s Museum as a Discovery Guide. Ben continues to aim for his life’s goal: “Make humanity smile.”
Copies of Making Lemonade With Ben will be available for purchase that evening, partial proceeds to benefit NAMI Dane County.
Q&A with Bonnie Loughran
There has been much talk in recent weeks at the national and state levels about mental illness, a topic that is often misrepresented, misunderstood and generally not the focus of much media attention unless something tragic happens.
It’s the job of mental health advocates like Bonnie Loughran, executive director of National Alliance on Mental Illness of Dane County, to push past these stereotypes and speak out on the importance of early diagnosis and sustained treatment so people can live healthy, fruitful lives, she says.