At the Clinton’s Foundation Health Matters Conference in January of 2013 a vision was pronounced in the name of changing the perception of addiction. Gary Mendell, who survived his son’s suicide in 2011, felt an overwhelming responsibility to change the face of addiction. After his son, Brian, had struggled with his addiction for nearly 10 years, and then died because of it, Gary racked his brain to see clearly with what had really transpired.
In the summer of 2011, Brian came home for what would be his last visit. During this time, Brian told his dad about the shame of the stigma that he felt he had been burdened with.
“Dad, 300 years ago, they burned women on stakes in Salem, Massachusetts because they thought they were witches. Later they learned they weren’t and stopped. Someday, people will realize that I am not a bad person. That I have a disease and I am trying my hardest.”
The pain that Brian felt took over. He woke up one morning and decided to research how to write a suicide note and then took his own life all the while being completely alone. Gary felt the effects of a tragic loss and then took the excruciating pain he felt and put it into contemplation and inquisition. There were four things that really stuck out for him that he wanted to make a difference with.
- Brian died of a disease that afflicts more than 22 million Americans every day.
- Like Brian, the majority of those addicted – nearly 9 out of 10 – began experimenting with substances before their eighteenth birthdays, while their brains were still developing.
- Research exists that could have saved Brian and countless others like him.
- For every major disease in this country, there is one well-funded national organization – but not for addiction.
The vision that Gary mentioned was a promise “to unite millions of Americans within one organization and empowering them to create change”. Gary Mendell started a national foundation called Shatterproof that provides information about addiction, explains state and federal legislation, and fundraises on behalf of more awareness for addiction.
Shatterproof holds 5K races around the country to get people of all walks of life involved in raising money. In order to make a bigger impact, Shatterproof created ambassadors, advocates, and supporters that will make the change in saving countless lives. Gary Mendell took the stance to Rise Up Against Addiction to help those in need and continue to make a difference with addiction ongoing.
If you or someone you know is struggling with drugs or alcohol, Renewal Recovery Solutions will show you a recovery plan that is catered to your specific needs. We recognize the uniqueness of each of our clients by creating a strategy that reflects their own personal master treatment program.
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