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Book author will talk about mental illness

DUNCAN  To those on the outside, Madison Holleran seemed to be living a charmed life. She had family support, she was popular and attractive, she was a standout athlete on the University of Pennsylvania track team and everything appeared to be falling into place for a long and productive life.

"By all accounts, Madison in high school was this young, happy, vibrant, wildly successful human being, who was destined  according to everyone around her  to do amazing things with her life," Kate Fagan wrote in her book, "What Made Maddy Run."

However, how Maddy appeared on the surface and how she really felt was not amazing. Behind her facade, Madison Holleran was struggling with anxiety and depression  all of which came together one day during Holleran's freshman year at Penn, when she committed suicide by jumping from a building in the middle of downtown Philadelphia.

Holleran's battle with the stigma of mental illness became the focus of Fagan's book and brings her to Duncan on Tuesday when the ESPN reporter and New York Times best-selling author appears at the Simmons Center to tell Maddy's story.

"There will be sessions at 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., and both of the sessions are free," said Cyndi Crook, director of the Duncan Regional Hospital Foundation and community relations. "This event is a kickoff to a yearlong campaign called Stop the Stigma, which is sponsored by the DRH Foundation, Duncan Regional Hospital and Pathways to a Healthy Stephens Country.

"The campaign's goal is to educate people about mental illness and empower them to not 'stigmatize' those who are suffering."

A 36-year-old native of Warwick, Rhode Island, Fagan attended high school in Niskayuna, New York, where she was an outstanding basketball player. After setting a career scoring record at Niskayuna, Fagan became a standout at the University of Colorado. She was a perennial first team academic performer before graduating in 2004.

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