Local Mother Continues to Honor Son Who Lost Battle with Mental Health and Addiction

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After losing her son to mental health and addiction in 2019, Mary Brown created the “Ryan Philip Taylor Scholarship” in his honor to help others suffering from addiction. (Courtesy of Mary Brown)

WILLIAMSBURG — On January 20, 2019, Ryan Philip Taylor lost his struggle with mental health and addiction at only 21 years old.

Since then, his mother, Mary Brown, has worked to keep his name and story alive.

“To me, there’s two times people die, and that’s when they leave the earth and the other is when you stop mentioning their name,” Brown said. “So we definitely were not going to let my child die twice.”

For the past two years, Brown has honored her son through a scholarship to Faith Recovery, 332 34th St, Newport News, (formerly known as Youth Challenge of Hampton Roads), which is named in Ryan’s honor.

Faith Recovery is a faith-based recovery program for men and women who are facing addiction. The organization has a program that lasts for twelve months.

Brown said that the program was unique to her because it offers a full year-long treatment, as opposed to other rehabilitation programs that may last for only thirty days.

The program costs $300 a month, including meals.

“Sometimes the families are so spent out when dealing with mental health and addiction,” Brown said. “They’ve paid for rehabs and they simply just don’t have resources left to tap into.”

The 2nd Annual Ryan Philip Taylor Memorial Golf Tournament will raise funds for a scholarship in Taylor’s name. (Courtesy of Mary Brown)

After entering a rehabilitation facility three times, Ryan was offered a scholarship to Faith Recovery, but passed away before he was able to go.

“We just felt like it was such an amazing gift to be given to us, and we just wanted to pay that forward to everybody else that would like to go,” Brown said.

The Ryan Philip Taylor Scholarship began in October 2019 and is made possible through fundraising efforts held in honor of Ryan.

A Tabb High School student, Ryan’s passions were skateboarding and golf. The first fundraiser in honor of his birthday was a skateboarding event.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, his family chose to hold a memorial golf tournament for his birthday. Between the two events, they were able to raise close to $20,000.

“It just means everything to have 100 percent of the proceeds go to Faith Recovery for a scholarship in his name,” Brown said. 

This year, the 2nd Annual Ryan Philip Taylor Memorial Golf Tournament will be held on Saturday, Nov. 13 at the Colonial Heritage Golf Course, 6500 Arthur Hills Dr.

“We’ve got about six or seven golf teams, and items for a silent auction, but we still need a lot more to make it a successful event,” Brown said.

Brown is currently seeking sponsors for the event. A $200 contribution entitles sponsors to have their gift notated in the event program as well as a sign on a tee box or at a hole.

A $350 sponsor level includes a two-person golf team, and a $500 level sponsor includes a four-person team. Both $350 and $500 levels also includes a tee or green sponsor sign, and notation in the golf program.

Brown said that they have been able to pay for a number of people to go through the Faith Recovery program.

“We’re very proud of the work that program does,” Brown said.

For more information or to register for the memorial gold tournament, call Wyatt Harris at (757) 603-2846. 

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