“I Can Take a Break” – A Message of Help and Hope for Problem Gamblers and Families
“Take A Break” campaign: Click here for information on Oregon’s “Take A Break” campaign!
About Problem Gamblers Awareness Day
On July 20, 1995, Robert “Bobby” Hafemann took his own life. He left behind a family full of grief, sadness, and a lot of questions. His sister, Ronda Hatefi, became increasingly bothered by something Bobby had said in the note he left behind. He wrote he “felt like a ghost.” Many problem gamblers voice a similar statement. In 1995 there were not a lot of places for a problem gambler to go. Since his death, treatment and outreach for gambling has grown.
In the forefront of the movement to bring awareness to the public is Ronda Hatefi. She is the founder of Oregonians for Gambling Awareness Organization (OGAO). Her hope is to strengthen the message that “gambling can become an addiction and if it does, there is hope and help.” She does not want another family to suffer the devastation of problem gambling that has impacted hers.
Each year since Bobby’s death, she has petitioned the Oregon Governor to proclaim September 29 as Problem Gamblers Awareness Day. For 21 years her request has been honored and, by doing so, Bobby’s life has been honored. It is the anniversary of his birth. His death has become a day of hope for those hurting and suffering in silence.
Like other addictions, the compulsion to gamble can become the main priority of a person’s life. When this happens the emotional and financial upheavals are devastating. Often, the family is just as impacted by this devastation as the gambler. According to prevalence studies conducted by the Oregon Council on Problem Gambling, problem gambling affects approximately 80,000 adult Oregonians. For those entering treatment last year, the Oregon Health Authority estimates their combined debt related to gambling at more than $31 million.
Key events locally include the “Take A Break” campaign and Bridgeway Recovery Walk & Run.
- “Take A Break” campaign: Click here for information on Oregon’s “Take A Break” campaign!
- Bridgeway Recovery Walk & Run: Sunday, September 25 at Minto Brown Park (2200 Minto Island Rd.) in Salem. There will be a 5K, which begins at 10:00 am, and a 10K, which begins at 9:30 am.
Information and sign-up is at: https://runsignup.com/Race/OR/Salem/BridgewayRecoveryWalkRun
- Governor’s Proclamation: Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown has proclaimed September 29, 2016 as Problem Gamblers Awareness Day. See the proclamation here.
- The National Council on Problem Gambling is proud to promote the 2016 Problem Gamblers Awareness Day!
In Oregon, treatment for problem gamblers and their loved ones is free and confidential and provided through Oregon Lottery revenues; those interested in seeking help may call the 24-hour help line at 1-877-MY-LIMIT (877-695-4648).
For more information about Awareness Day, contact Ronda Hatefi: [email protected]