Radford University welcomes sports broadcaster Lauren Sisler for National Recovery Month event
September is National Recovery Month, spotlighting new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the nation’s recovery community and the dedication of service providers and communities who make recovery in all its forms possible, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Radford University will help raise awareness about Recovery Month by welcoming ESPN and SEC Network sports broadcaster Lauren Sisler to campus to present “Road to Redemption” on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Bondurant Auditorium. This event is free and open to all Radford University students, faculty and staff.
Sisler, a native of the Giles County area, lost both of her parents to their concealed battle with prescription drug addiction within hours of one another when she was an 18-year-old student at Rutgers University. She will discuss that tragedy and how she was able to overcome the resulting adversity, finding her own path to a successful life and career.
“Sports is my passion, but my purpose is to share what I learned from my parents’ story – and how I learned to fall in love with my own,” Sisler said.
“Lauren is one of the most engaging, motivational speakers I have had the honor of listening to,” said Cora R. Taylor ’09, assistant director of Substance Abuse and Violence Education Support (SAVES) at Radford University. “She will make you come to realize that you have a story, and it’s okay to embrace your story and see greater purpose behind every difficult circumstance.”
Following Sisler’s presentation, there will be a short panel discussion with Reed Yearwood, Radford University’s peer recovery specialist, and Rosalind Watkins, the founder of the JHW Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation aimed at raising awareness about substance use disorders in young adults and supporting young adults in recovery.
The presentation and panel discussion provide an important opportunity for the Radford community to explore mental health and substance abuse topics, which are on the rise among college students.
“Eighteen to 24 is when most mental health and substance issues are diagnosed,” said Taylor. “Of course, that is the age range of traditional college-aged students, so college can truly prove to be a turning point.”
Taylor added that there is a lot of effort put into breaking the stigma around substance use, and Sisler’s story is a powerful example of how her family’s battle with substance use impacted not only those struggling with addiction but also the entire family for years.
“At a time when college students are really struggling, we are a disconnected society, and searching for meaning and purpose,” Taylor said, “Lauren’s story is encouraging and inspirational."