About 18-months ago John Tessitore’s friend—John Kelly, whom he admired for his compassion and devotion to helping others—committed suicide after battling obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Tessitore, 22, wants to make sure that his friend is remembered during National OCD Awareness Week from Oct. 8-14 and bring awareness to the condition, ending its associated stigmas.
“John was the best friend a kid could ask for and was really the heart of our small town,” said Tessitore, who along with Kelly is from Dobbs Ferry. “When he passed, many people were in shock and didn’t really know how to react, and didn’t realize that OCD could actually do this to someone. However, as time went on our small community of Dobbs Ferry rallied.”
After Kelly’s passing, his family and friends came together to hold the “John Cleaver Kelly Legends Softball Tournament” to raise money to fulfill Kelly’s dream of finding a cure for OCD. Tessitore is asking the community to rally once more in Kelly’s memory for “JCK Legends Weekend" from Oct. 12 to the 14 to spread the word about this his best friend and raise awareness about OCD.
Kelly, who died in March 2011 at the age of 24, suffered from Responsibility OCD, which can make sufferers feel as if they caused disasters like earthquakes in Japan and makes one feel that they have to do certain things or else something bad will happen. He was diagnosed in the seventh grade.
Kelly was known for his infectious laugh and outgoing nature, as well as working to help others—including others with OCD and with the nonprofit organizations like the Afya Foundation and Invisible Children.
Click here for a story on Kelly.
Tessitore, a childhood friend of Kelly’s, is asking people to "Like" his Facebook event, watch his documentary on YouTube and share the links with others to bring awareness about the affects of OCD.
“Many people think that OCD is just about people touching things, and walking in and out of doors," said Tessitore, on Facebook. "I encourage you to spread the word that it is much more than that, and to spread the word to NEVER GIVE UP the fight against OCD and mental illness and try to end the stigma.”
Tessitore’s 22-minute documentary—which he directed, narrated and edited—called “Heroes Get Remembered, But Legends Never Die” tells the story of Kelly’s life through his journal entries and interviews with his family and friends and is aimed at ending the stigmas associated with mental disorders. Tessitore, who is started his new job as a production assistant at ESPN in two weeks, won three prestigious awards at the Cinefest Film Festival in Fairfield Connecticut in May for his film.
"It's just as much an illness as anything else," said Tessitore. "We want to get the word out to as many people as possible and inspire peopel with OCD to keep fighting the battle. If peopel come together and learn about this order and what it can cause and how it can be treated, it can help out so many people with the disorder."
Click here to view and share the event on Facebook and click on the YouTube video to watch it or share the link with friends. You can also tweet these hashtags over the weekend to show support and get #OCDAwareness, #LegendsNeverdie and #JCK trending on Twitter.
For more information on obsessive-compulsive order visit: www.OCfoundation.org