OUR STORY – Dave Harrington

In order for one to get the sense of what our foundation is all about, we must go back and take a brief look at how we got to where we are today...

On August 29, 1984 Cathy and I had our third child, a boy we named Ryan.  Ryan completed our family and we felt blessed to have three beautiful, healthy children.  Cathy and I always thought we had the perfect family, David, our oldest son, Eileen our middle child and only girl, our princess and Ryan, our second son and our baby.  I say this because each child had a special niche and their own identity.  Our lives were complete, three beautiful children, who were exposed to as many great experiences as we could manage.  Thanksgiving was always a trip to Plimoth Plantation, in Plymouth; Christmas was a trip to Mahoney’s to get our tree, singing Christmas carols and looking at all the houses decorated on the way.  The fall was Pop Warner football, both David and Ryan played and Eileen was a cheerleader.  We spent our Sundays together all day  at the field.  Spring and early summer meant Little League.  Cathy and I both coached the kids’ teams and we were sponsored by Cathy’s brother, Bobby. We were the Lyons Roofing team.   During the summer, we spent two weeks in Maine with our extended family.  These were just a few of many wonderful memories we shared. For all intents and purposes, we were a typical middle class family.

As time went on, things began to change.  Ryan was hyperactive and lost focus at times.  We had him evaluated in grammar school and it was thought that Ryan had ADHD.  Ryan was prescribed medicine for his ADHD but it was a constant battle getting him to take it.  Ryan didn’t want to be different and often said he didn’t want to be thought of as a special needs child. Ryan began his drug abuse in the 8th grade.  Ryan began with marijuana and in high school was offered and accepted Oxycodone.  From there Ryan began his abuse of opioids which continued for approximately twelve years prior to his death from a heroin overdose.  For twelve years we did whatever we could to help him.  Ryan did have months of sobriety but always fell back into active addiction.  Ryan’s story is similar to so many others, the secrets, the lies, and his own loss of self-respect and depression.  What I haven’t mentioned was Ryan had a big heart and helped so many people during his addiction.  These include taking care of his grandmother with Alzheimer’s, giving his clothes to those less fortunate and at one point giving a woman his box spring and mattress so that she and her baby didn’t have to sleep on the floor. It is in the spirit of Ryan’s giving nature that we hope to carry out our mission of helping others.