Muffy Walker is nominee for volunteer of the year

RANCHO SANTA FE — Time is running out to vote for Muffy Walker to be Volunteer of the Year for her work with the International Bipolar Foundation (IBF). Walker is the founder of IBF.
Nominated by her peers for the CLASSY Awards, which is the largest philanthropic awards ceremony in the country, Walker is listed among the 25 finalists out of more than 2,000 nominations submitted on behalf organizations, businesses and individuals.
She has had to undergo several rounds of elimination and the competition is down to the public vote portion of the contest.
If she wins, she will be given about $10,000 for her charity.
“We are also up for the most creative fundraiser by a nonprofit,” she said.
That fundraiser is a full-on game show held at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. Contestants have clickers and answer questions on screen.
Walker, a 16-year Rancho Santa Fe resident, said she works 6 to 8 hours a day for the foundation, since founding it five years ago with three other women whose children have the disorder.
“We have a three part mission to eliminate bipolar disorder through advancing research, promoting care and support services and erasing the stigma associated with it through public education,” she said.
“I spend a lot of my time looking for grants, getting together a lecture series of famous authors and bloggers across the world. We’re coming out with a book on healthy living with bipolar disorder,” she said. “We have an international presence reaching out to other bipolar organizations across the world.”
Walker is also a consultant to movies to make sure that mental disorders are accurately portrayed on screen. She most recently consulted on the movie “The Black Swan.”
Much of her work, all volunteer, is concentrated on raising money for research and helping run support groups for parents with bipolar kids, putting together an annual mental health fair, a free lecture series.
“We have a lot of big name speakers like Margaret Trudeau, Glen Close and coming up in October, Patrick Kennedy,” she said. Trudeau, former first lady of Canada, and Kennedy both suffer with the disorder. Close’s sister is afflicted.
When Walker first found out her son Court Reed had bipolar disorder at age 4, there was not much advice about what to do and where to turn.
Even though Walker is a specialist in psychiatric nursing and her husband a medical doctor and a Ph.D, they found it hard.
“We found navigating the system was pretty difficult,” she said.
They decided since there are all kinds of resources, it was important to bring them to the surface for other parents with children with the disorder.
Court, now 17, is doing well and attending a special school, she said.
Those wishing to vote for Walker can do so from now until Aug. 26 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Visit stayclassy.org/classy-awards/voting and vote (once) for Walker.

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