Leader of the Month: Alex Ambrogi
Posted on 02 October 2017
This October the YXU Community will be supporting the The Kyle Ambrogi Foundation to honor the life and legacy of Kyle Ambrogi and promote mental health awareness. 10% of all sales this October will be donated in honor of our October leader of the month Alex Ambrogi.
My fellow YXU Community,
HELLO! My name is Alex Ambrogi, a half Irish/half Italian coffee lover born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Prior to graduating from Franklin and Marshall College in 2016, I was given an opportunity to take a position in Columbus working as an underwriter for a reinsurance company. Although hesitant, I ended up taking the position. But bare with me, a die-hard Philly girl is thinking to herself, what in the heck is in Columbus Ohio?
Well, let me tell you, there is a lot to do and experience in good ol’ CBUS – Go Bucks! (am I right?). I also had the privilege of meeting Matt Pekarek and Tres Barksdale – the men behind YXU. I’ve known them for some time now and was both humbled and honored when Matt reached out to me asking if I would be October’s leader of the month. I said, "Matt are you sure, there are so many people with stories to share". But he convinced me that my story is worth sharing - so here goes nothing!
One of the greatest quotes I have ever heard about growing up is “sometimes having a big brother is even better than having a superhero”. For me, I have been blessed with the gift of three superheroes. Two on earth and one in heaven that is. I grew up in the shadow of my three handsome, charismatic, passionate, and protective older brothers. But, I would not trade a second of that for anything. They’ve helped shape who I am as a person and I wouldn’t be who I am today without their continuous love and support.
With that being said, my three brothers and I tragically lost one of our own when my oldest brother, Kyle, lost his battle to depression on October 10, 2005 at the young age of 21. He was a senior football player at the University of Pennsylvania studying business at the respected Wharton School. He was the guy everyone looked up to and admired. He put others before himself and always had the biggest smile on his face. Kyle was diagnosed with depression during the spring of his junior year in college. It never made sense that the boy who had it all – the looks, the brains, the athleticism, the humbleness, and every trait other people envied – was suffering.
But that’s just it. Depression doesn’t have a gender, age, race, religious, or cultural preference. Anyone can be affected by this disease and, in most instances, people try to carry the weight it bears by themselves. They don’t want to admit something is affecting them, that they’re sad, or even worse – that they need help. According to the World Health Organization (Feb. 2017), close to 800,000 people commit suicide every year. The same report cited suicide as the second leading cause of death in 15 – 29 year olds. These statistics continue to grow year after year and that just cannot be the case anymore.
The Kyle Ambrogi Foundation (http://kyleambrogifoundation.org/) was started in 2009 in memory of my brother, Kyle. Its mission: to promote education and awareness of depression in teens and young adults and promote suicide prevention with keeping Kyle’s memory alive. Alongside other recognized foundations – American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Minding Your Mind– the goal is to continue fighting for those who lost their battle and hope that one day there will be no more fighting. Awareness and education play a very important role in helping to prevent suicide. The better our understanding, the more we can do to assist those with depression.
I will leave you with this thought. Working with YXU and other organizations to spread the importance of mental health and suicide prevention is a step that is going to go a long way. No one ever has to feel alone or that they are a burden to those around them. We need to stand together and fight the cycle of silence and help those who are suffering. It is my greatest hope that one day mental health awareness is discussed on every platform available.
If I could tell Kyle one thing, it would be that I miss him beyond the measure of words and that tomorrow would’ve been worth the fight. For me, Leaving My Mark is taking the steps to promote mental health awareness so that no one else has to grow up without their superhero.