THP Celebrates Five Years of Assisting One Person, One Family At a Time

Week 1: Education & Rising Up


I first learned of Isabella and her story a few years back when Chris was scheduled to speak at her high school. The morning of the presentation, representatives of the school approached Chris and our team to let us know of a student who had just lost her dad that morning due to complications of alcoholism. Her story made an impact on both Chris and I and over the years I had wondered how she was…then I received an e-mail from Isabella in December of 2014. From that initial e-mail and conversation, I asked Isabella to be part of the THP Project Purple Initiative by sharing her story and designing a t-shirt to represent her journey. The April 1st release of the t-shirt is in conjunction with alcohol awareness month and all proceeds will benefit The Herren Project & The THP Project Purple Initiative.

Excerpts of her essay are below as well as her t-shirt design. Each day as a member of the THP Team, I hear a story that touches my heart or bring tears to my eyes. I am constantly amazed at what is facing the teens of today, how many have been lost to the disease of addiction and admire the strength that so many have to embrace their journey and “Rise Up”.

– Jenny Swider, THP Communications


On the day I found out about my dad’s passing, my brother and I both decided to go to school. Coincidentally, that afternoon former Boston Celtics player, Chris Herren, came to speak with my entire high school about his career-ending struggle with addiction. My friends, my guidance counselor and many of my teachers told me that I should go home. I could tell by the concern and worry on their faces that they didn’t want me to hear Chris’ story. However, I didn’t go home. I was blown away with what Chris shared. He had my entire school completely captivated; all eyes were on him. While Chris’ story was much like my dad’s, his ability to overcome his addiction and go on to help others is truly inspirational. Throughout my life I have looked for ways to make a difference in the substance abuse community. That afternoon I found what I was searching for; it was The Herren Project.

During my freshman year of college, I finally built up the courage to send an email to The Herren Project. I shared my story and asked how I could get involved. They offered me an opportunity to design a T-shirt for their 2016 campaign and share my story.

My design revolves around the sun, but more specifically the sunrise. Although extraordinary, the sunset represents something coming to an end; whereas, the sunrise signifies the beginning of something new. I wanted my design to remain simple and hold a deep personal meaning that others could relate to. Each day in the life of an addict brings constant struggle. I know for my dad, getting up everyday and facing his past was almost unbearable. But just like the sun, he was able to rise up and keep trying. As difficult as it was, my family and I stood by my dad through it all. I reminded myself everyday that no matter what the day brings there is always a tomorrow; that the sun will always rise again.

Rise Up Tee

When people look at this t-shirt I don’t want them to just see a sun graphic. Instead, I want them to see it for what it represents. I want people, especially people affected by substance abuse, to understand that no matter how awful the current day is, the sun will continue to rise again, offering a new day; a new chance to make a change. So I ask you all to please rise up, embrace what the the day has to offer, make the most of it, and remember that today is not the end.

In Loving Memory of Michael Reagh McGoldrick (March 17, 1959 – May 1, 2012).

Order Your Rise Up Tee:

All proceeds to benefit The Herren Project & THP Project Purple Initiative

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Isabella Rise Up

>> Read Isabella’s Complete Essay