More than 100 people spent the day rappelling in Hartford, taking the fight against addiction to new heights.
The unique event has raised $7 million in three years, all going toward fighting the opioid crisis.
On Wednesday, Gary Mendell carefully made his way down the 22-story Hilton, taking little steps for one big reason.
"My older son Brian struggled with addiction for almost 10 years...he passed away on Oct. 20, 2011,” said Gary Mendell, founder of Shatterproof.
It was then that Mendell made the decision to leave his career and pour his time into raising awareness about addiction.
"It doesn't get any worse than that, but the aftermath of that, I really struggled knowing that there are 25 million Americans with the same disease,” Mendell said.
He founded Shatterproof, a non-profit organization for people suffering from substance abuse. It is also a support group for their families.
"My family has been deeply affected by alcoholism and addiction, and I lost a brother at age 45 and he left a wife and a young daughter,” said participant Liz Giannotta
The rappelling event has been going on for three years. Mendell said it really is a metaphor for taking the first step in addiction recovery.
"You're going step-by-step, always looking at the sky. Your friends and family supporting you, clapping and cheering until your feet safely hit the ground,” Mendell said.
The event in Hartford on Wednesday raised nearly $250,000, and fundraising pages will stay open through the final event in November.
For more information on Shatterproof, click here.
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