A Celebration of Life: Philadelphia 2023 was Phantastic!

On Thursday, May 4, 2023, friends and supporters of Minding Your Mind gathered to celebrate life, friendship, and community at the Ballroom at the Ben in Philadelphia for the sixth A Celebration of Life: Philadelphia. 

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 2023 Changing Minds Award to Kathy Killian, Vice President, Administration of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Back in 2016, A Celebration of Life was held in Philadelphia for the first time. One of the first people to respond to outreach for the event was Kathy Killian. She showed up personally, engaged the Phillies, and introduced Minding Your Mind to many people and organizations. Her involvement has been instrumental in the success of every one since.

Beyond her support of this event, she has fused her advocacy for understanding mental health with her position at the Phillies, establishing the Strike Out the Stigma initiative with Phillies Community Outreach and Minding Your Mind. Each month, representatives from the Phillies, Minding Your Mind, and other distinguished guests participate in a panel discussion, bringing important conversations to the forefront about the value of healthy life habits, supporting those around us, and removing the negative connotation surrounding mental health.

The Changing Minds Award was established by Minding Your Mind to recognize an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to reducing stigma associated with mental illness in his or her community, and who has demonstrated a commitment to advancing the mission of Minding Your Mind. Previous recipients include:

• Dr. Aaron Beck, globally recognized as the father of Cognitive Behavior Therapy and credited with shaping the field of mental health;

• Dr. Martin Seligman, Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center and commonly referred to as the Father of Positive Psychology;

• the Craig Family, whose son Kyle was lost to suicide and inspired A Celebration of Life, growing from one event at Vanderbilt University to a multi-city effort engaging thousands of young professionals in the service of suicide prevention and mental health awareness.

For her dedication to Minding Your Mind, her vision of growing the involvement of young professionals in mental health philanthropy, and her commitment to the Philadelphia community and all in the MLB network, Minding Your Mind was proud to present Kathy Killian with the 2023 Changing Minds Award.

The Phillies created a video tribute to Kathy, and she spoke meaningfully about her commitment to mental health education in all aspects of her life. Watch the entire tribute here:

“Year after year, we are incredibly grateful to the young professionals who give their time and talent to plan and produce A Celebration of Life: Philadelphia,” says Trish Larsen, Minding Your Mind executive director. “This year, the participation of the Phillies and being able to honor our dear friend Kathy made the event one we will remember forever. The awareness this event brings to so many different people from all over the Philadelphia community is almost impossible to measure, but we feel it through those organizations and individuals who reach out afterward and want to learn more. Thank you to everyone who was involved and attended, and a special thank you to the Phillies and our great guest, the Phillie Phanatic!”

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Photos from 2023 A Celebration of Life: Philadelphia