The “For Michael” fundraising event had fairly humble beginnings. The friends and family of Michael Taylor, who lost a fight with addiction last year, sought to hold an event that would both honor the memory of Michael and raise money and awareness to help others struggling with addiction. From there, the idea grew into a summer kick off event. Partnering with Shatterproof, a national organization dedicated to fighting the stigma surrounding addiction, only grew the event even further. As the time went on, what came into being was a day that was truly special, with a crowd of over a thousand people descending onto Weed Beach in memory of Michael. By the time all was said and done, over $220,000 was raised.
The day was opened by Gary Mendell, who is the founder of Shatterproof, and a father who lost a son to addiction. Mendell spoke to the crowd about the importance of having a vision, and of working together towards a goal. Shatterproof not only fights addiction, but against the stigma that the disease of addiction carries. “If you have cancer, you go to the hospital. Heart disease? Let’s get you to the hospital. But if you’re an addict? Go to jail, and don’t relapse,” Mendell said, illustrating the need to change the conversation around the disease. “Today helps change that,” Mendell said, adding, “events like this should be happening all over the country.”