On April 5th it will be one year since Sam left this world. Over the last year it has been easy to fall into despair—and we certainly have some very difficult days--but every day we try to turn this tragedy, in some minor way, to the positive - to make Sam's death mean something. Mental Illness and addiction took our beautiful, charming boy from us. His bright eyes and brilliant smile live on now, only in our memories. We must strive with all our hearts and souls to save the next beautiful child from suffering Sam's fate.
The first step is awareness. To many, Sam's struggle came as a surprise. Sam suffered in silence because the world greets those with mental health issues with stares and whispers. We need to stop this insanity. Fully one in five of us suffer from mental illness in one shape or form. Whether it's depression, anxiety, OCD, Self-harm, Bipolar Disorder, or Substance Abuse, those who suffer should be treated the same as those with a physical ailment. We must put an end to the stigma that haunts those that suffer and causes them to keep their issues to themselves and avoid the treatment they need.
We also need to advocate for changes in public policy, not only so essential care is available for those that need it, but also to make sure that the resources are there for research and development so that the next Sam has a fighting chance.
We feel the best way to accomplish these goals is to support NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). On May 19th, Sam’s Warriors will once again walk the boardwalk in Seaside Park (hoping for a much less turbulent weather than we had last year!). One person can't change the world, but together we can. Please come and join us. Click Join Our Team (above) and become one of Sam's Warriors. If you don't want to fundraise, just come and walk with us. If you can't make it but would like to contribute, we’d welcome your sponsorship and donation. Click Support Us (above)
On another note, some of our soccer family may be aware of last week’s horrific car accident in Delaware that took the lives of two Rutgers soccer players and seriously injured two others, one who is still fighting for his life and was a soccer brother to Sam on Ironbound. We pray that Andres Medina makes a full recovery. This is yet another example of just how hard it is to protect our children as they turn into young adults, despite all of our best efforts. Please keep Andres and Jose Barillas in in your prayers, along with the two families who lost their beautiful boys