Scholar Spotlight – Rian

“I am now looking forward to going to college and pursuing my passion for helping people in situations such as mine.”

Rian had visual hallucinations all his life. Starting at the age of 5, although they were very disturbing, he thought everyone saw them. He never told anyone because he didn’t know it was abnormal. That was until middle school, when his hallucinations began to manifest into debilitating experiences, leading to worrisome self-harming and suicidal behaviors. When he was hospitalized in the eighth grade, he finally saw other people like him.

“I was offered the opportunity to participate in underwater photography that single-handedly changed my life. My passion for my environment led to passion for my recovery, and I became excited for my future.”

It took 2 hospitalizations to stop the hallucinations, but he wasn’t better. His suicidal thoughts got worse and eventually the hallucinations came back, even worse than before. His relationships with his family deteriorated and he could feel himself reach his breaking point. He made a concrete plan to die.

Fortunately, he wasn’t successful, but the damage he did to his body made survival doubtful. He had seizures, brain damage and had a difficult time breathing. After a long physical recovery he eventually learned to walk again and began the long road to obtaining psychological stability.

It was in a long-term residential setting where he began to learn to love himself again. He took a leadership role in treatment and worked hard to be one of only a few residents to reach the top of the behavior/treatment tier. He was introduced to photography as part of his treatment which awoke an innate talent and passion that he didn’t know he had.

“Living my next chapter no longer means hurting myself or giving space in my mind to people who don’t deserve it.”

Rian has won numerous awards for his photography and underwater photography and is pursuing a psychology degree at the the University of Wisconsin – Superior “I am now looking forward to going to college and pursuing my passion for helping people in situations such as mine.”

We should all keep an eye out for this world changer! I couldn’t be more proud to be a small part of his journey into the next chapter.


Are you ready to #KeepFighting and #LiveYourNextChapter? We have 2 types of scholarships available:

Rian and Amy are our very first Big Sister/Little Brother Peer Mentoring Team. Both are a part of the University of Wisconsin system!

JCRF General Scholarship – Numerous available for male or female living and attending school in the United States

Mary Cathryn White Memorial Scholarship – Only one awarded each year to girls living and attending school in Tennessee or the Mid-South.

For more information on eligibility requirements and how to apply: Click Here

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Scholar Spotlight – Rian

Rian had visual hallucinations all his life. Starting at the age of 5, although they were very disturbing, he thought everyone saw them. He never told anyone because he didn’t know it was abnormal. That was until middle school, when his hallucinations began to manifest into debilitating experiences, leading to worrisome self-harming and suicidal behaviors. […]

Our board consists of professionals in the behavioral health care industry and educators. We understand what you’ve been through, and we have the resources to help.