Thursday, August 18, 2022

From tragedy comes hope: Local woman honors son through scholarship

Ryan Philip Taylor (WYDaily/Courtesy of Mary Brown)
Ryan Philip Taylor (WYDaily/Courtesy of Mary Brown)

Ryan Philip Taylor lost his battle to addiction and depression in 2019 at just 21 years old.

But his story didn’t end there.

Taylor’s mother, Mary Brown, is determined to share his story, raise awareness and help others.

Brown is doing that through a scholarship for addiction treatment in his name and continues to raise money. 

There will be a day of celebration and the family will be raising more money Nov. 14 during the first Ryan Philip Taylor Memorial Golf Tournament.

The entry fee is $100 per player. Registration starts at 9 a.m. and shotgun start is at 10 a.m. There will be an awards reception at 2:30 p.m.

Entry fee includes a green fees and golf cart access. Be sure to wear proper golf attire and soft spikes.

“Ryan loved golf and spent weekends with his uncle playing in a desperate attempt to someday beat him at the game,” Brown said. “He also played for his high school. It will be a day of celebration and remembrance of a precious life but also a way to help others.”

Brown has set up a scholarship “Ryan Philip Taylor Scholarship Fund” to honor Taylor, who died in January 2019. The scholarship is through Youth Challenge of Hampton Roads, a local faith-based organization providing support and recovery programs for men and women struggling from addiction.

The scholarship was made possible by fundraising efforts from his family and community support through a skateboarding event, Sk8 4 Life, last October. 

“If it happened to us it could happen to anyone, I just want to raise awareness,” Brown said.

Brown said her son first started showing symptoms of depression and anxiety at the age of 15 as a student at Tabb High School, but she never thought his mental health would lead him to drugs. 

He went away to school at Radford University at 17 and once there he became addicted to Xanax after getting involved in a bad crowd, Brown said. Taylor entered multiple rehabilitation facilities before his mother decided to pull him out of school.

Brown said Taylor loved all sports, was funny, and was an overall joy to be around.

Brown’s goal is to give someone struggling the opportunity to get the help they need. 

The scholarship is available for people who come to Youth Challenge if they cannot afford to stay at the facility. So far, the scholarship has helped at least seven people, Brown said. 

“There’s nothing like it”, Brown said about the program.

If you wish to talk to someone local about addiction and recovery, call Youth Challenge at 747-244-1234 or click GET HELP.

For more information about registering for the golf tournament, call Wyatt Harris at 757-603-2846. The sponsorship deadline is Nov. 1.

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