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 Bondurant Auditorium.
The event is free and open to all Radford University students, faculty, and staff.
A native of the Giles County area, Sisler 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 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.”
A short panel discussion with Reed Yearwod, 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, will follow Sisler’s presentation.
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 are searching for meaning and purpose,” Taylor said, “Lauren’s story is encouraging and inspirational.”