Building a legacy for good in the name of those lost.

The Riley Foundation est. 2008 by the Ryan & Johanna Salter family

Riley’s Story

By Ryan Salter

My friend Riley died from his addiction, leaving behind a young son, his family, and countless friends. Though his death felt very sudden at the time, I realize that we had all watched him fight addiction for many hard years. In the beginning it was easy to miss the progressive toll addiction was taking on him because, at a glance, Riley appeared happy. But a closer look exposed the depression, agitation and underlying disappointment he had with himself.

Riley knew his part in his addiction; if he was writing this he would have readily told you all about it. He wanted sobriety and fought for it with all he had, but in the end, the disease was just bigger than him. When Riley died, I remember hearing a Bruce Springsteen song that did the best at representing what I felt at the time. It says, “They say you can’t take it with you, but I think that they are wrong. Cause I woke up this morning and something big was gone.”

We started a foundation in Riley’s name to try to fill the giant void that was created with his death.

Every individual who succumbs to his or her addiction was someone’s child, sibling, parent or friend. Loved ones left behind to bear the loss mourn, not just the physical absence caused by death, but the severed potential their loved one’s life had as well. Dreams that will never be realized, and a story left unfinished. When someone like Riley is struggling, we want them to have access to as many resources they need to successfully manage the disease. In particular, young children impacted by parental addiction, like Riley’s son, are a profoundly under-served demographic. Without support children are left traumatized by their interaction with the disease and the effect it has had on their family. Children deserve to have support that helps them put their loved one's disease into perspective and gives them tools to cope with their experience as a child of addiction. 

Everyone deserves to live a life free of addiction and full of meaning.

The Riley Foundation exists to create the types of support programs needed to diminish the impact parental addiction has on children and help families in early sobriety overcome common barriers to success. Riley deserved to have a full and meaningful life with his son and family. Our way of honoring Riley is to provide families affected by addiction access to support that helps them realize their life’s full potential.