Every four minutes someone dies from addiction to alcohol or other drugs in the US. A new national movement is forcing the country to confront this fact and take action. Shatterproof, an organization committed to ending addiction and the stigma and suffering associated with the disease, has opened registration for their Shatterproof Challenge Rappelling Series, running through November, 2015.
At this peer-to-peer fundraiser, adventure-seekers impacted by addiction will scale down skyscrapers in 27 cities nationwide to raise awareness and money for prevention, treatment and recovery support.
“To end the shame and stigma around the epidemic of alcohol and drug addiction, we need to get people talking about it. Our hope is that participating in an event as bold as the Shatterproof Challenge will spark an open dialogue about addiction,” says CEO and Founder Gary Mendell.
In partnership with rappelling event company, Over the Edge, anyone ages 18 and over (or under 18 with parent or guardian permission) can sign up for a local challenge at Shatterproof.org. Over the course of 60 – 90 minutes, attendees will check in, review safety tips with an experienced guide, get fitted into their vest and helmet, strap into their rope, and practice key moves before hiking down the high-rise.
No prior training for rappelling is required by participants, but they must commit to raise a minimum of $1,000, where 100% of the funds support the following:
- Activating State-level advocacy campaigns to pass legislation that reduces the number of deaths from overdose, such as Good Samaritan laws, expanded access to naloxone, and prescriber education.
- Expanding the use of SBIRT, a screening and intervention program for young adults to reduce the number of our young adults who develop the disease of addiction
- Reducing the stigma of addiction to enable more funding for the prevention, treatment, and recovery of addiction
- Increasing access to information and support by expanding Shatterproof digital resources for those afflicted with addiction and their families
- Educating the general public about the impact of addiction through the development and deployment of a nationwide Shatterproof Ambassador Program
- Families affected by addiction, individuals in recovery, and advocates for the cause are expected to attend Shatterproof’s rappelling events, which serve as visual metaphors for the extremity of addiction and the process towards recovery.
Highlighting their parallels, Mendell says,
“Just as going over the edge is the most challenging part in rappelling, taking that first step to decide to enter recovery is the hardest. Both the climb down of a side of a building and the journey toward sobriety take a slow and steady approach with friends and family cheering you on until you land with your feet firmly on the ground.”
At all Shatterproof Challenge events, spectators will root those rappelling on and participants will celebrate their achievement at a landing pad party, where they’ll dance to a DJ set, pose in a photo booth, and enjoy complementary, healthy snacks. An interactive art installation representing Shatterproof’s mission of removing the stigma around addiction will provide attendees a powerful, emotional outlet, inviting them to handwrite personal stories on stickies labeled “In Honor Of,” “In Memory Of,” and “Why I’m Repelling” to cover the word STIGMA on a large banner.
Last year, 1,000 people participated in the challenge, raising $1.6 million for Shatterproof initiatives.
Shatterproof challenges will be taking place in the Southland:
- LA (Sheraton Downtown LA (711 S Hope St) in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 11 (9:30am – 3pm)
- OC Marriott Irvine (18000 Von Karman Ave) in Orange County on Monday, June 15 (9:30am– 3pm)
We’ll be live on the scene Monday June 15th in the OC, covering the event. Celebrity participants include Supernatural’s Misha Collins. See more on Misha’s Shatterproof Challenge page.
In 2012, Gary Mendell, a member of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, founded Shatterproof to educate, empower and equip families, educators, health care providers, legislators and others to proactively address addiction among children and young adults. Mendell and his team are building a national organization to bridge serious gaps in funding and resources for the disease of addiction. His son, Brian Mendell, lost his battle with addiction at the age of 25 in 2011. For more information about the Shatterproof Challenge, including sponsors, please visit shatterproof.org