Welcome to my personal fundraising page. As many of you know, I lost my twin brother, Rob, to an accidental overdose on December 7, 2012, at just 35 years old. My first son, Sam, was only 14 months old when he died, and my second son, Theo, never met him at all. This makes me so sad. So sad that they will never get to hear his infectious laugh or see his bright blue eyes shining. They will never get to hear one of his great stories or learn about cool bands or know the funniest YouTube videos before everyone else. They will never get to travel with him and eat great food and see great sights. Rob will never get to buy them their first X-Box or watch them on the sidelines at games or teach them how to snowboard. They will never get to learn all the wonderful things he knew about. That is what this terrible disease took away from them, from me, from all of us...so many more years of memories, laughter and love.
Science has proven that substance use disorder is a chronic brain disease that can be managed with medical treatment. It is NOT a moral failing or a character flaw. But still, only 1 in 10 Americans with a substance use disorder receive treatment. Addiction is highly stigmatized, and that stigma is fueling this American public health crisis. That stigma is what killed my brother.
About 45% of Americans think that you can overcome addiction with will power. 33% of Americans think that addiction is caused by a character defect or bad parenting. Well, many of you have met my parents, Bill & Kathy, who are wonderful and who raised Rob and I in a loving, stable home in Pittsburgh, PA, and sent us to private Catholic schools and Penn State University. Rob would be the first one to tell you his disease had nothing to do with his upbringing. And the saddest statistic- less than 20% of Americans would be willing to associate closely with someone who is addicted to (prescription) drugs as a friend, colleague or neighbor. Why? Because of the STIGMA.
Through Shatterproof's advocacy efforts and awareness campaigns, we are slowly starting to shatter the stigma around a disease that now impacts 1 in 3 families across the country. I am so proud to be a part of this amazing organization, and am so happy to participate in the Shatterproof 5K every year, not only to remember Rob, but also to help other families suffering through this terrible disease. If the money I raise can help spare even one family from the pain mine has experienced, the shame that Rob felt, the isolation that we experienced from others, the guilt and absolute heartbreak from not being able to help, I know Rob would be so happy and proud of me.
This event has truly become something my family and I look forward to every year, and gives us the opportunity to reconnect with friends and family, to celebrate Rob's life, and to hopefully help others in crisis with our fundraising. If you live in or around NYC, we would be so honored for you to join our team, The Slowstars. If you cannot make the 5K in person, you can still show your support by making a donation. 100% of the dollars raised will advance Shatterproof’s goals and save lives.
Rob's amazing spirit lives on in me, in my parents, my husband, Eric, in my boys (who resemble him in so many ways), and in everyone who knew and loved him. I thank you so much for your generosity, and hope to see many of you walking or running with me on 10/13/19! Forever my twin... I love you, Robbie!
Entering enemy territory at Foxboro... go Stillers!
Our last Thanksgiving together, a week before Rob died. This was such a wonderful day!
Eric & Rob