The feeling of losing someone is unexplainable and, when asked to put it into words, can be almost impossible. But for Ryan Anderson, a forward for the New Orleans Pelicans, it's what he believes he must do. On August 14, 2013, Ryan lost his loving girlfriend, Gia Allemand, to suicide. The event was dramatic to say the least and left Ryan disoriented and in a state of despair.
Since then, however, he has been working on healing himself by getting back into basketball and helping others who are going through similar situations, whether it be grieving for a loved one or suffering from internal desolation. He has taken his image as an NBA star and used it as a platform to promote "To Write Love on Her Arms," a nonprofit movement devoted to offering hope and help for those battling depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. Collaborating with the movement has helped Ryan overcome some of the pain and empowered him as he educates others to see the reality of those who are fighting a battle against themselves.
Ryan first heard about TWLOHA through the pastor who serviced Gia's funeral and Kyle Korver, another NBA player. Ryan has supported the movement in numerous ways by posting photos wearing TWLOHA gear, tweeting about the association and promoting its World Suicide Prevention Day campaign. His biggest input that also benefited him and his recovery was filming a short video in which he finally opened up about his story, his loss and his healing. The pain Ryan's gone through is challenging to fathom, but expressing the feelings and thoughts he's had about the experience has given hope and a person to relate to for many.
Jamie Tworkowski, the founder of TWLOHA, worked with Ryan on the video in New Orleans. He had many great things to say about Ryan and looks forward to the positive effects the video may bring. Jamie believes that Ryan "is being incredibly brave in sharing his story, and lives will be changed and saved because of him being willing to go there. He wants to be use his story and his platform for good."
From the video, Jamie hopes "people see that they're not alone, that it's okay to talk about grief and pain and loss — it's okay to talk about depression and suicide, it's possible to heal and keep going over time. More than anything, the hope is that people will get whatever help they need and deserve. We hope Ryan's story moves people to go to counseling."
Ryan Anderson is more than just a 6'10" NBA basketball player for the New Orleans Pelicans. He's humble; down-to-earth; and ultimately trying to reach out to those who need reassuring hope, love and support as they battle the troubles within themselves. He's got a heart of gold and is extremely courageous as he unfolds the truth of personal struggles and the reality of it that society chooses to look past.
Known as The Intern,
Translating sports craze to ink,
Aim is empathy