Denise Kaplan of Northbrook calls her best friend Renae Charalab “the most amazing person I have ever known.”
Kaplan, through her own experiences, saw the need to support families touched by biological brain disorders such as: anxiety, ADHD, depression,and bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, there is no “cure” or clear “treatment path” for these disorders; as a result, families need ongoing support of the
people and the community around them. When Kaplan’s daughter had the idea to found a nonprofit to raise awareness for and bust the stigma surrounding biological brain disorders, Bark4Care, Charalab immediately became one of the organization’s leaders and filled out all the paperwork.
“I give 150 percent,” says Charalab, who is known for being a tireless volunteer—she ran the District 31 fundraisers for many years. “That’s just the type of person I am.”
Thanks in large part to Charalab, Bark4Care now has tax-exempt charity status and the organization’s necklaces made out of tree bark may be purchased on its Web site and in several North Shore retailers. Proceeds go to local charities: The Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation and Erika’s Lighthouse.
Oh, and did we mention that Charalab recently lost more than 100 pounds?