It’s incredible how fast life can change… I never really could grasp that until my family tragically lost my brother in January of 2014. My brother was a 24 year old aspiring chef. He had a good job, an amazing group of friends and family, loved hockey, was always helping out anyone who needed him… but he also had a dark secret that he kept hidden from the world. My brother was addict. I know that addiction can be a very controversial subject, but because of how prevalent it has become in our communities it’s starting to become more and more common. I didn’t know much about addiction until it hit my family. I didn’t realize that addiction was a disease, I also didn’t realize how hard the process of recovery was either. It’s one of my missions to help remove the stigma and to pay it forward and help others who are in my shoes. Over the past year, I have done a lot of reading to really educate myself and learn more. I also continued to push forward, and live life. There were many times when I just wanted to give up but I kept myself going, and a lot of times it was because I knew I had people counting on me at the Max. People who looked up to me, and I wanted to show everyone that there is life after losing someone so close to you. My mom has also started a support group in our area to help loved ones cope with their loss, she also has become involved in many other organizations to help others get the help they need. At the Max we come together as a family to offer support and help each other reach our goals. I’m SO excited to have my Max “family” join me in help raise money for an organization that does something very similar. City of Angels offers support with the hope that we may be able to give people calm guidance as they approach the daily challenges faced by those affected with addictions. COA is completely run off of volunteers. They started back in 1996 and have since continued to grow to help fit the needs of the community. I’m so excited to have The Max of Hillsborough, South Brunswick, and Bridgewater not only come together to learn more about the COA but also to potentially help someone get the help they need.