Kathi Sullivan told how alcohol led to her daughter Taylor’s sudden death. Her husband, Chris Sullivan, a former NFL player and Super Bowl XXXVI Champion, spoke about his experience with pain pills and other drugs and how they permanently altered his life.
Both stories offered insight on the importance of adolescent decision-making to Pelham Memorial High School students as the couple brought their program Sullivan’s Message, a drug and substance abuse awareness organization, to the school Oct. 5.
Through their presentations, Kathi and Chris Sullivan highlighted to the high school students the dangers of substance abuse.
“I am grateful to the PMHS PTA and the JVC Foundation for coordinating Kathi and Chris Sullivan’s visit with Pelham Memorial High School students and families,” said Principal Mark Berkowitz. “At Pelham Memorial High School, and across the Pelham public schools, we are always working to inspire our students, to deepen students’ connections with one another and to help our students make good decisions. We are immensely thankful for the Sullivan’s Message of hope, love, purpose and change.”
Students across all grades shared their appreciation with Berkowitz.
“It showed how the people you don’t really expect to have addictions can have addictions,” Edie Albarella, a PMHS freshman said. “Even the captain of the football team or someone who’s at the top of all their classes can be struggling with an addiction.”
In fact, Chris Sullivan had been the captain of nearly every sport he played and made good grades in school. Despite this, his story shows how substances can affect anyone.
“The presentation made me cry,” sophomore Lindsay McCormick said. She was not the only student who was moved by the Sullivans’ talk.
Sullivan’s Message has visited hundreds of schools, delivering stories of warning to teenagers across the country. The Sullivans also spoke at an evening meeting for high school parents.