Eleven-year-old Highland Park Middle School student Shane Boylan has momentum. Furthermore, his moves are changing his life and moving other Highland Park residents to make a difference in the lives of others.
For the second year in a row, Shane, who lives with his mom Aanika and sister Eliza in Highland Park, is organizing a one-day-post Fathers Day event (June 19) – an 11-mile bike ride to raise money for those suffering from depression and to pay tribute to his father. Timothy A. Boylan, 51 years old, died in January of 2016 after a long struggle with the serious, sometimes fatal, and often hidden disease of depression.
“Last year’s ride has helped us through some important healing over the loss of Tim and has led to Shane doing his “Depression-Doesn’t-Ride” bike event again this year,” said Aanika, noting that the Boylan family members were not the only ones moved by Shane’s actions.
Highland Park resident Amanda Lyons said she was “personally touched by Shane’s Ride to raise funds for depression research. I lost my father to depression 16 years ago, and this loss is something that my family and I still feel everyday. Depression, post traumatic stress disorder and addiction have challenged my family for generations. By the time my father, a Vietnam Veteran (decorated with a Purple Heart and Medal of Valor), finally sought help he had already suffered severely for so long. The damage was so deep. We lived through two years of suicide attempts and hospitalizations before he finally left us. Recovering from the trauma of suicide can be entirely overwhelming and all encompassing. Mending and healing is a lifelong journey.
“My heart is warmed and I am inspired by Shane, who at only 10 years old, lost his father and responded by rising up to rally support in hopes to save others from pain and suffering….When I read about Shane’s ride (last year) I wrote to him to tell him that I was so sorry for his loss, that I lost my dad too, and that my family and I will be proud to ride with him in honor of our dads….
“I am proud to join the “Depression-Doesn’t-Ride” team to raise awareness and funds for the Hope for Depression Research Foundation. With awareness and treatment, recovery from depression is possible, and people can be spared the heart breaking loss of suicide…. Knowing about depression, being aware of the signs, and developing a support system and tool box to combat depression is truly vital,” Ms. Lyons said.
Shane’s Sixth Grade Social Studies teacher Nikki Ferringo described how Shane has been “an inspiration to his classmates throughout the ‘Be-The-Change’ project. During his presentation, he shared his personal connection to the community issue he chose, depression. The passion that he has for changing the stigma around depression is powerful, and it caught the attention of many of his peers. As a result, Shane’s classmates have taken an interest in Shane’s Ride, and they plan to attend the event to show their support.”
Anyone can get involved in Shane’s education campaign by doing the following:
- Ride with Shane or cheer him on – 6 p.m., June 19, Monday, Johnson Park, River Road.
- Make a donation to Hope for Depression Research Foundation. Go to website for instructions as to how to donate by check or online hopefordepression.org
- Make sure to note Shane’s Ride as the inspiration for the contribution.