Shane Boylan was just 10 years old when he had to face one of the most difficult experiences anyone could imagine—he lost his father to depression.
Although it was a devastating and unexpected blow that shattered the hearts of the entire Boylan family, Shane hoped to somehow find a way to preserve the positives in his father’s legacy—and also help others in similar circumstances.
He was a loving husband and dad first, a victim of depression second.
Timothy A. Boylan was a beloved father and husband, with joys, hobbies, dreams, and an amazing sense of humor.
“My late husband, Tim, was a card … very sarcastic, and quick-witted – it was hard to keep up with him!” Aanika shared in an interview with HooplaHa.
Shane had his own take on his dad’s humor. “He would kind of make jokes that a lot of times would kind of go over your head and you wouldn’t realize it until a few seconds later,” explained Shane. “And then you’d notice he was smirking because he kind of got away with [it].”
Shane wanted to turn his dad’s story into a legacy of hope.
It was January of 2016 when Shane’s father Tim took his own life at the age of 51, bringing a catastrophic conclusion to his long struggle with alcoholism and depression.
Aanika, Shane’s mother, did the best she could in explaining to her children that their father died from a severe disease called depression. Although Shane didn’t know much about the disease, he knew he wanted to prevent the same thing from happening to anybody else.
He decided to help raise money for a cure.
Shane did some research and found out that depression affects more than 20 million adults in the United States every year. He decided to raise money to fund research and help find a cure for the disease, but at first Shane didn’t know what organization would benefit from the results of his fundraising.
“I didn’t really know if there was anybody that would help this disease because it didn’t seem like there was that much help,” Shane said.
Shane then found a partner in his efforts with the Hope for Depression Research Foundation.
“Depression has been under-researched and underfunded for too long. It’s the #1 reason in the world for disability,” explained Hope for Depression’s Founder, Audrey Gruss.
Shane’s fundraising was incredibly successful.
Shane and Hope for Depression then organized a 10-mile bike-riding event called “Depression Doesn’t Ride.” Shane’s dad was a bicyclist, and the boy thought it was a befitting way to honor his father while also helping others with the disease.
The first-ever “Depression Doesn’t Ride” event was held in Shane’s hometown of Highland Park, New Jersey in the summer of 2016. He set a goal to raise $400 from this event—and he raised $4,000!
As you’ll see in the video below, Shane was shocked. He still can hardly believe the results, as he smiles and laughs during his interview!
He was honored and rewarded for his efforts.
For his efforts, Shane was invited to speak at Hope for Depression’s annual luncheon.
“It was a great opportunity for him to get to share his message and the work he had done,” Shane’s mom Aanika said.
Shane was also given a very appropriate gift—a new bike along with a gray and yellow helmet, which are the official colors of the Hope for Depression organization.
Shane was so happy, he decided to make the bike event an annual occurrence. For more information, visit the Depression Doesn’t Ride Facebook page.
Watch the video below:
Source: Boy Raises Money To Fund Depression Research After Losing His Dad by HooplaHa – Only Good News on YouTube. Credit to producer Tracy Chevrier, camera-man Kevin Van Witt, and editor by Kellie Sieban.