Every young hockey player that grows up in South Bend, Indiana has, at one point or another, dreamed of playing hockey for the University of Notre Dame. Nick and Jack were no different.
I remember how their eyes would light up as they watched the Irish – and if a hockey player happened to glance their way, that would be the topic at bedtime tuck ins for many, many nights that followed. They knew every Notre Dame player, their position, stats, etc. To say they were fans would be an understatement! So about a year ago when we were approached about a potential partnership with the Notre Dame Hockey team, I was speechless.
When you travel to different cities with the same kids and parents every weekend to play in hockey tournaments, you build friendships. The kids, the parents… it’s just what happens. You become close with those people and they become part of your life – your hockey family.
That’s where Notre Dame sophomore forward Graham Slaggert comes in. He played travel hockey with Jack and was also friends with Nick.
Graham contacted me last winter, saying he wanted to run an idea by me. During that meeting, Graham told me he was working with Under Armour to design a jersey for his team to wear and show support for 525 Foundation, while also serving as a way to honor and remember the two friends he lost.
I am touched that Graham felt so deeply about a cause that he decided to take action. Then he talked to his teammates about his idea and explained why it was so important. They decided to take action. With the support of the team, the coaching staff and others within the Notre Dame Hockey organization took action as well. The ripple effect... This is how you make change. The impact of that ripple effect is truly what 525 Foundation is all about, touching one person at a time.
This Saturday, February 15, Nick and Jack’s childhood dream will come true. My boys will be ON THE ICE (well... represented on the ice) during a Notre Dame hockey game! The team is wearing the commemorative jersey Graham worked to design. It is very similar to the one the boys wore all those years ago when they played for our local travel hockey team, the Rovers. Each jersey also has a patch on the inside collar with the ND logo AND the 525 Foundation logo!
Because of this partnership, we have the opportunity to continue the ripple effect. A parent at the game might have an opportunity to learn about the Foundation’s mission and share our story with their children. A college student at the game might learn about what happened to Jack and Nick and perhaps make a life-altering choice later that night when they are out with friends. A community becomes safer because fewer unused prescription medications are on the streets.
Years from now, I hope Nick and Jack are remembered for their stats… how many tens of thousands of pounds of pills were collected because of them, how many lives they touched and how much of a difference they made in their own community and beyond.
There will also be a secure pill drop at Saturday’s Notre Dame hockey game, sponsored by Drop2Stop – a program started by 525 Foundation that gives people a safe and easy way to dispose of unused prescription pills. Bring expired or unneeded pills with you to the game and drop them off at a table inside the front doors.
Game Info: Saturday, February 15 at 6pm, Compton Family Ice Arena
Irish “Wear Green” Night
Opponent: Minnesota Gophers
third annual 525 foundation gala with terry bradshaw + special guest
Becky Savage’s two teenage sons – Nick and Jack – accidentally overdosed on a deadly cocktail of alcohol and prescription drugs on the same night in June 2015. Becky and her husband Mike turned their unimaginable grief into a powerful message: educating students, parents, lawmakers and anyone else who will listen about the dangers of prescription drugs. The couple created 525 Foundation (the boys’ hockey numbers were 5 and 25) with a goal of preventing another family from experiencing the pain the Savage family still struggles with every day. To date, Becky has bravely shared her story with more than 60,000 high school students from Indiana to Texas to Oregon and presented at conferences across the country. She’s spoken to members of a United States Senate opioid crisis committee, serves as an ambassador for the Walgreens #ItEndsWithUs campaign and participated in countless interviews for podcasts and news media.