Former Boxing Champ Rides 4,000 Miles for Charity

June 26, 2002

Public Affairs

Belmont, MA - On June 15, former US Amateur Womenís Flyweight Champion Rosalie Parker began a 4,000-mile, cross-country bike ride in recognition of her cousin Max, 29, who has psychiatric illness and to raise money for a unique program that helps people like Max live productively in the community.

Waverley Place, a rehabilitation program run by Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., provides each individual with the customized assistance he or she needs to live a productive life, such as skills training, employment assistance, apartment finding or help with bill paying.

Waverley Place is the only program of its kind nationwide.

Cousins Max and Rosalie Parker

Cousins Max and Rosalie Parker

"Unlike most psychiatric rehabilitation programs that develop a program then accept individuals into it, Waverley Place designs services based on the specific wishes and needs of each person," explains Rosalie. " It addresses a large need for practical assistance not always met by other state or private agencies for community care outside a hospital environment."

Rosalieís cousin introduced her to Waverley Place late last year. Max, 29, is a Waverley Place peer counselor who helps program members with daily tasks, including shopping, laundry and organizing budgets. Max knows from personal experience the challenges members of Waverley Place endure; he has been in their shoes.

Max was a high-school senior when he began to suffer from a severe depression that led to psychosis. After many turbulent years, Max has been able to control his illness with medication and therapy.

He graduated Tufts University with degrees in English and Japanese and is now dedicated to helping others live healthy and productive lives despite their mental illness.

"Maxís story is so triumphant that I think he brings hope to a lot of the people who come to Waverley Place," says Rosalie. "I dedicate this ride to him, in celebration of his success and in recognition of his strength in traversing a difficult path."

Rosalie, a Harvard graduate with a masterís degree in international studies from Johnís Hopkins University, has been training for the ride for months and is making most of the trek on her own, staying at motels and with host families.

"This as an adventure for me. Iíve traveled Europe, Asia and Russia, but Iíve never seen this part of America. Itís like being a tourist in my own country."

Rosalie expects to arrive at her final destination of Washington, DC in mid-August.

Max marvels at his cousinís commitment.

"Iím pleased and proud that Rosalie has committed to helping Waverley Place," said Max. "I look forward to supporting her along the way."

For more information on Waverley Place or to track Rosalieís trip online, go to:

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