Chris Hampel's Fundraising Page

Why I Am Dancing

A bit of my journey before the Center is riddled with Suicide attempts multiple stays in the hospital along with 21 ECT treatments. I had reached the end of my rope and thoughts of wanting to continue with life. My divorce separation from my kids my failing business and overwhelming financial debt and all but abandoned from my own family. I was homeless and did not know what I was going to do, but I had a social worker take interest in me and get me into a shelter and then a group home. At that point when I was secure in the home I was told about the center and went. When I walked thru the doors, I seriously had no clue what or how I was going to go forward or how I was going to get better. When I did the staff such as Sam Minis, and other that are now onto other careers helped me understand I had so much to be thankful for and take things “ONE DAY AT A TIME”. I did just that and thru the 5 years and  as I look back I was on a fast track to re-establishing my life and a new me and truly see who I am and I had SO much to live for and do. I was able to get out of the group home, get my own apartment, get a TE at Wells Fargo Advisors Financial network. At Wells they also saw so much in me and helped me grow and be more confident and supportive and I am still remarkably close to so many of those teammates I met that they are my best friends. I came from a construction background in Carpentry and all that work ethic still existed inside me that I took for granted and still live by without even knowing it. I went back to Wells Fargo as a Contractor and stayed for over a year with the same team. Also, in the time I started my TE I also went to work at the St Louis Zoo as a train Engineer as an IC staff member Alex Johnson knew I loved trains and had a friend there. I spent 4 ½ years at the Zoo and again made so many friends and grew as a person.  As my contract was nearing the end at Wells Fargo I was searching for another job and came upon the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. I was immediately hired as a maintenance Engineer and worked until April of this year and was laid off due to Covid. I have since been rehired and placed in a new position of Maintenance Engineer for the Private residence. I am also now a speaker with NAMI in their program “in our own voice “telling our story and helping others understand their illness and know there is help and they can get better.  

I tell this part as it is Critical to my recovery with the help and support of the Independence Center. I have done videos for the center in 2017 and was the member dancer in 2020 and raised thru donations over 30K. THIS WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE CENTER. I would have been 6ft under (DEAD) if all this did not happen. The Center has saved my life and shown me I have so much to give and be part of. With being part of the Board I can continue my journey and be a major part in the ongoing and ever so evolving path the Center has and help those that need it. I am a very caring man and come from a background of giving back to the community and helping and being that voice for those that are very often unheard. I know what it is like to walk out of a hospital and have that feeling now one cares and where do I go from here. The center is based on an amazingly simple principle of relationships and helping those build and building up those that need it. The center has so much more potential to help SO many more and help them find who they are and survive their illness.

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My Supporters

  • Lyn Fank 1 week ago $20.00
  • Janet Sheban Great job, Chris, congratulations! 2 weeks ago $200.00
  • Mark Utterback Chris -- thank you for sharing your story and making a difference for Independence Center. 2 weeks ago $250.00
  • Luke Streitz 2 weeks ago $15.00
  • james castellano 2 weeks ago $150.00
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  • Mark Utterback Chris -- thank you for sharing your story and making a difference for Independence Center. 2 weeks ago $250.00
  • Janet Sheban Great job, Chris, congratulations! 2 weeks ago $200.00
  • james castellano 2 weeks ago $150.00
  • Matt Doyle 3 weeks ago $100.00
  • Marianne/Mike Murphy Chris, shake a leg! 3 weeks ago $100.00
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