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At The End Of Their Rope

Descending the outside of a building 13-stories tall may seem like a scary task, but more than 60 people found the courage to rappel to the ground for an organization called Shatterproof that helps raise funds in order to fight drug and alcohol addiction.

Last month, participants in the Shatterproof Challenge went down the side of the Administrative Tower building at Nassau Community College.

Shatterproof travels all across the United States to host rappelling events that raise funds for their cause. The event had a $25 registration fee and Shatterproof also asked participants to help raise $1,000 in donations.

Supervising the Shatterproof Challenge were experienced rappellers from Over the Edge, a company that partners with non-profits that wish to hold rappelling fundraisers. Those participating were first outfitted in safety gear including a helmet and a harness. They were then sent to a training station where they learned to use the devices before rappelling down 13-stories.

Two participants who wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to rappel down a building were HIcksville’s Julia Height and Nikki Sclair.

“Aside from the chance to jump off a building, it was for a good cause,” said Height. “We’ve had a few friends who have died from heroin overdose.”

Like Sclair and Height, most of the people who participated in the event have known someone who has suffered from addiction.

There are millions of people in America who are currently addicted to drugs and alcohol and 350 people in this country who die every day due to addiction, according to founder and Shatterproof CEO Gary Mendell.

To Mendell, Shatterproof is a promise to help end addiction. “We need to begin to raise awareness and funding for the disease of addiction and to end the stigma,” he said.

After Mendell lost his son, Brian, in 2011, he founded Shatterproof to help others become “Stronger Than Addiction,” which is now the foundation’s slogan.

Since Shatterproof began in 2012, it has been steadily growing larger and larger. In just the past six months, Shatterproof raised $7.5 million to help fight addiction.

The reason behind Shatterproof holding rappelling events is that they like the visibility that it brings, according to Associate Director of Special Events Jere Keys.

Rappelling is out in the open, and people can watch it and understand what it is about right away, which is what Shatterproof aims to accomplish. It is Shatterproof’s goal to do these high-profile events in order to get information about addiction to the public and get people to realize that it is a disease.    

“One of the core values of the organization is breaking down the stigma around addiction,” said Keys. “So much of the addiction community is centered around anonymity and we think that is harmful.”

Shatterproof is currently advocating the states to have health insurance cover intervention programs for teens. This will allow the states to intervene with the teens before they become addicted and these programs will able to be covered by health insurance.

Shatterproof wants to help anyone whose life has been shattered by addiction. They want to make America shatterproof.

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