Sean Astin Starts “Patty Duke Mental Health Project” In Late Mother’s Honor

Truth rating: 10
Sean Astin Patty Duke Mental Health Project

By Shari Weiss

Sean Astin Patty Duke Mental Health Project

(Getty Images)

Sean Astin announced the “Patty Duke Mental Health Project” on Tuesday, just hours after his mother’s death.

As Gossip Cop reported, Duke died earlier Tuesday after suffering from sepsis due to a ruptured intestine. She was 69. In a statement, the Oscar winner’s family said, “This morning, our beloved wife, mother, grandmother, matriarch and the exquisite artist, humanitarian, and champion for mental health, Anna PATTY DUKE Pearce, closed her eyes, quieted her pain and ascended to a beautiful place. We celebrate the infinite love and compassion she shared through her work and throughout her life.”

On Facebook, Astin shared a photo of himself as a baby in his mother’s arms, writing, “I love you mom.” He added, “Her work endures…” Included was a link to a just-launched fundraising campaign inspired by Duke’s own battle with bipolar disorder and her mental health advocacy.

On the Crowdrise page, Astin writes that his late mom was a “voice for the voiceless, a reassuring presence for the scared, the intimidated and the lost. She was a healer of many souls and a champion for so many in need.” The proud son notes, “Anna (her given name) fought for civil rights, gay rights and the rights of working actors to name just a few. Her greatest achievement was confronting her mental illness and making her story public. She crossed the Nation speaking and campaigning and lobbying for mental health. My mom took her place as a mental health advocate in the greatest tradition of noble leadership.”

Astin goes on to reveal, “Before her passing, before the suffering became too great, we talked about how the core mission of her mental health work might continue beyond her life.” He explains:

“This initiative will fuel a multi-level approach to achieving results for those suffering with mental illness and their families and communities. Public awareness campaigns, lobbying efforts, and supporting a multitude of mental health programs big and small will be organized, prioritized and vigorously pursued.

The funds raised here will establish the Patty Duke Mental Health Initiative. The legal expenses, the formation of a board of directors, the establishing of a location, the hiring of an experienced executive director to manage professional fundraising, initial staffing and all of the costs associated with launching an endeavor of this sort.”

Astin’s message concludes, “Thank you for your love and support. On behalf of my mother, her husband, her children and grandchildren, her family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, supporters, partners and her adoring fans, I give a great big hug and much much love!!!”

The actor has set a fundraising goal of $250,000. In roughly two hours, more than $1,600 has already come in. Astin and Duke are pictured above in 2004.

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