We created the Team Black 417 Foundation shortly after we lost our son Michael to addiction. The foundation is dedicated to a generation of young people that struggle with depression, addiction, apathy and mental-illness. Michael’s heart would be to have a holistic approach in reaching every person with physical, emotional and spiritual healing.
Michael passed away on April 17th, 2013 when he was just 19-years-old. He was one of the most amazing young men you could ever meet. He was a model son; respectful, honourable and hard-working. He was an All-American football player, USA Rugby player, had above average grades and was a leader of leaders.
However, Michael had his struggles as mental illness ran in his family. He fought with overachievement and never feeling good enough and in the spring of 2012, Michael started using drugs as a means to cope with the pressure. His almost perfect life came apart quickly and by the time autumn came, he had a felony on his record and had lost most of his friends.
The road back was difficult and he never overcame it. In January 2013, Michael was back in school with his reinstated rugby scholarship, but even being drug-free, and his faith re-established, Michael found it difficult to engage. Mentally, it was more of a struggle than we will ever know. His death was violent and is still a bit of a mystery.
As coaches for The World Race and mentors for G42 Leadership Academy, we have committed our lives to encouraging thousands of others to help awaken, empower and launch a generation of leaders that will serve all over the planet, just like Michael would have wanted.