Minister plans all night to raise funds for mental health awareness

JOHNSTON COUNTY – Smithfield-born Paul Burgess will be running all night on Tuesday, December 21, the longest night of the year to raise funds for mental health awareness in North Carolina.

Burgess is a runner and Baptist pastor who is passionate about the importance of mental wellbeing; knowing that the holidays can be a time of trouble, grief, and depression for many people. Burgess wants to do something special to highlight this marginalized community and help de-stigmatize health problems that so many have in common.

After serving in four Johnston County wards, Rev. Burgess plans to lead every church he has served – First Baptist in Smithfield, First Baptist in Clayton, Sharon Baptist (now Point Church) in Smithfield, and Benson Baptist in Benson – a route that stretches for 54 miles.

Rev. Burgess begins Tuesday, December 21, at sunset and lasts 14 hours and 13 minutes until sunrise on Wednesday. All funds raised will go to the North Carolina Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Those interested in helping can donate on Burgess’ GoFundMe page and follow their progress all night on its The Longest Night Ultramarathon Facebook page.

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