For those who know Stuart Perry well, it seems hard to believe that he just turned 55. He lives his life with the speed, vigor, and enthusiasm of a much younger man. After earlier years of struggle with personal trauma and mental illness, Stuart found his own journey to recovery, and his daily pace is a tribute to the restored health he now has. From his 1000-mile advocacy walk to Chicago in 1999 to his founding to Perry Wellness Center, Stuart Perry’s journey has been one of public advocacy, leadership, and high energy. In the process, he has become one of the nation’s foremost consumer advocates, as well as a role model for hundreds of peers who have passed through the doors of recovery center he founded.
Turning 55 has done nothing to slow Stuart down. To commemorate this birthday milestone, staff and peers of Perry Wellness Center gathered on Friday, May 2. Hours before Stuart arrived at the center, balloons were filled and placed around his office. Signs touting his advanced age and experience were posted on office walls. His prized deer mount was embellished with crepe paper streamers and enlarged “lips of love.” And his desk chair was decorated with paper currency of varying denominations.
Stuart was pleased to enjoy the special day with friends and family. He reflected on his busy schedule, about which he had no complaints. “People who know me also know about my pace in life,” he explained. “I want others to join me at this pace, and this can sometimes be difficult.”
Citing Europe’s famed motorways with no speed limits, Stuart continued, “They say that I run fast, but I want to increase my pace to that of the European Autobahn that has a wide open, unregulated pace. I invite others each day to join me.” It may be ironic that he celebrates his 55th birthday with talk about highways free of speed limits. But in his own life, Stuart may have hit a few speed bumps, but “no limits” could be his motto on how he experiences life.
In the photo above, Stuart basks in a birthday kiss from wife Pam, as he enjoys a birthday filled with friends, family, peers, colleagues, and even his pets!