Juliet Ciambrone was happily and busily preparing to entertain family and friends this past Christmas Day. But then the unthinkable happened and her world came crashing down. In what has become an all-too-familiar story, her 27-year-old son, Ryan J. Mandel, died of a heroin overdose. It just wasn’t supposed to happen; it wasn’t even a thought in her head in recent times. After all, Ryan had been clean and sober for four years, was in a job he loved counseling others, and, most importantly, being a dad to his baby daughter, Addison.
In hindsight, Juliet believes Ryan’s slip began just a few weeks before the fatal overdose. But what’s most important to Juliet is that Ryan not be remembered as just another statistic – she wants all to understand her son who was loved by all who knew him. Proof came when some 350 people attended his memorial service at Old School Square in Delray Beach. They remembered the caring young man who had a zest for life and loved his family, friends, and animals.
To ensure that Ryan is remembered and that the entire community is made aware of the full extent of the tragic aftermath of addiction to families, Juliet, Ryan’s sister Margot, and Ryan’s friends are planning a 5K run on Saturday, May 13th. It is the first of what she plans as an annual event. Proceeds will go toward scholarships for women with addictions to receive treatment at Wayside House in Delray Beach. Juliet is a long-time board member there.
Why a walk/run? “Ryan loved fitness and sports. He was a fast runner; he worked out regularly. I have fond memories of running a race together,” said his grieving mother.
And, while it would have been easier to give in to her grief, Juliet owed her son and herself more. “Ryan loved people and helping them. He was always involved in the community and wanted to make it better,” she said of her son who was raised in Delray Beach.
“Drug abuse is a community issue. We need a community that can find better ways to communicate with struggling addicts and help find solutions,” Juliet added.
The Ryan J. Mandel (Soar with the Angels) charity run will be held Saturday, May 13 starting at Anchor Park in Delray Beach. To sign up, go to www.ryanjmandel.com Cost is $25 per person.
If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact:
Juliet Ciambrone at 561-573-5599 or email firstname.lastname@example.org