Chris was a loving son, brother, uncle, nephew, and friend. Chris' first love was music. He played in several bands in middle and high school, mostly as a bassist, and then took up guitar later in life. Chris loved all music and had amazing taste. He would lighten the lives of others with music recommendations, mixed tapes, and his enthusiasm for discovering new bands. During high school, his first jobs in the restaurant industry led to a discovery of a talent for (and love of) cooking. Chris could whip up gourmet meals out of nothing. He had multiple jobs as a chef and thrived in the witty, fast-paced, and snarky environment of the restaurant kitchen. Chris also loved gaming, and would often stay up all night playing and listening to new music. He was a talented photographer and loved taking emotional photos of abandoned buildings. He was a loved, brilliant young man whose enthusiasm and laughter lit the lives of anyone lucky enough to have met him.
Chris struggled, like so many others, with addiction. From his mid 20s he was in and out of rehab, but had many good years that give us something to hold onto. Chris was a stubborn and strong-willed man. But ultimately he was unable to conquer his disease. Long term remission eluded him and he died far too young at age 32.
We, Chris' surviving family, wish that addiction did not come with a stigma. We want people to recognize this affliction as a disease just like cancer, depression, heart disease, or vascular disease. Personally, as an emergency physician, I see addiction everyday. More importantly, I see it in those without the resources to help themselves. Thrown aside by a society that offers them no support. Chris had support. He had a family that loved him and made it financially possible for him to seek treatment. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to save Chris. But it could be for others.
For Chris' memorial, his family asks that you donate to change. Change in the way we as society perceive the disease of addiction, and change in the support we offer these people who are someone else's brother, sister, son, daughter, uncle, nephew, even mother or father. We choose to remember Chris under the light of hope that our society, together, can conquer addiction.