Childrens Center Luncheon

Liza Long’s Story

“I am Adam Lanza’s mother.”

Liza Long wrote those words on her blog the morning of the Sandy Hook school shooting. Long knew firsthand the challenges faced by parents of children with mental illness. She had been struggling for years to find answers, compassion, and treatment for her own son’s brain disorder, which manifested in violent episodes and suicidal thoughts as early as age four.

Over 230 luncheon attendees listened as Long’s heartfelt, at times tearful, account proved the power of mental health treatment.

“My family, like many families, suffered in shame and silence,” Long confessed.

Yet it was her willingness to push back against the stigma and vividly describe her son Eric’s symptoms on her blog that ultimately led to a proper diagnosis. A research assistant for Dr. Demitri Papolos, director of research for the Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation, suspected the symptoms were a form of Bipolar Disorder.

After confirming the diagnosis, and with a proper treatment plan in place, Eric’s mental health stabilized, and his behavioral symptoms subsided. He was able to return to a mainstream school, make friends, start a summer job — and was even elected as vice president of student council!

“My son’s story changed because you know what? Treatment works!” said Long. “Recovery is possible.

Long stressed how lucky families in Southwest Washington are to have Children’s Center as a resource for the services and treatment that make recovery possible. Within other communities, families can search for years to nd answers, just like she did.

Long called on all of us to turn words into action. “We do seem to be talking (about mental illness),” Long said. “I would argue now though that it’s time to act.”

The Children’s Center Community

We asked if you, the Children’s Center community, would support our mission help children in our community access mental health services — the answer was a resounding, “YES!”

Your generous participation at our luncheon raised $107,945 and met a matching challenge of $30,000 from the Gibney Family Foundation. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and their families!