Run to end the stigma of addiction

As many of you know, after an almost 10-year battle with addiction, my son Brian lost his life on Oct. 20, 2011. More tragically, it was not just addiction that took my son’s life. It was also the shame and isolation he felt so often.

I often think about Brian’s last visit home. One his last day home, we had a great time playing golf, and then a family barbecue. That evening, the two of us were on the back porch talking about his favorite topic, the Giants and Eli Manning.

The conversation then turned to his recovery, and he looked at me and said, “Dad, someday I wish that people would realize I am not a bad person, but a good person with a bad disease. I am trying my absolute hardest. I promise.”

Well…on Oct. 1, Brian's wish will be granted. On this Sunday morning, we expect over 3,000 people will walk or run in New York City, all to end the stigma of addiction.

We will all say, very loudly, "Addiction is a disease, and we will treat it with love and empathy… Just like we do other diseases." And Brian will be there with us in spirit.

It would mean so much if you would consider supporting this special occasion with a donation to our team, Brian’s Wish:

And for those of you in the New York City area, I would be honored for you to join us, either as a member of our team, or by creating your own team at

Thank you so much in advance for your generous support.

Click here to make your donation or enter the URL in your browser's address window.

Learn more about Rise Up Against Addiction 5K Run/Walk: New York City at

Gary Mendell is founder and CEO of Shatterproof, a national nonprofit he founded to end the devastation that addiction causes families. A longtime Easton resident, Mendell raised his two sons and three stepchildren here, and they all attended Easton’s schools and graduated from Joel Barlow High School.