It could not be more appropriate that Spencer was born on the 4th of July. He was truly our firecracker from birth, and one of a kind. He had this innate ability to include everyone in his fun, even if it meant his annoying younger brother would tag along. His never-ending love was evident through his bright smile and witty banter with almost everyone he came in contact with. He filled our hearts with his goofiness and our days with his gift of wanting to make everyone feel special. He went to great lengths to bring joy to his family and, essentially, all of the people that he met. His special gift was singling out those who were in need and making them feel better about themselves and getting them through tough times. Every time you saw him you would have thought he was running down the stairs for Christmas as a little kid and you were his present. From close friends and family to complete strangers, in a day and age where kids can be shy or embarrassed by any outward affection, Spence never missed an opportunity for a hug, kiss or an "I love you" from his mom and dad in a public setting (or, you know, the occasional bear hug, face licking, tackle, light tap on the shoulder, or old school roughhousing with his brother). He knew how to lighten up any situation and make you feel like you were on top of the world.
Behind all of this love and joy, Spencer was struggling with addiction. Addiction is a vicious disease that takes over someone's life and can be a very dark path. Spencer was a fighter, he fought his battle as best he could. Spencer was also tough, so most did not know about the battle he had fought. He had a contagious smile and was always full of energy putting other's happiness ahead of his own. That's just the kind of person Spencer was. Spencer is remembered most for his enthusiasm, the joy he brought to everyone around him, the love he gave unconditionally, and the happiness he brought to each and every person that were lucky enough to have known him.
The goal of Pursuit of Happiness is to carry out Spencer’s goal of sharing his story and bringing love and support to those struggling with addiction. It is time to break the stigmas about substance addiction. It is time to stop pretending it is not a problem in our communities. It is time to do something. Together, we hope to ensure that others will not lose their son, their sibling, their best friend to this horrible illness. We hope that many of you can find it in your hearts to support us in our efforts to help people like our Spencer.
We love you Spencer. We miss you. Your fight continues through us.
Note from Spencer's Mother
“About a year ago, my son called to tell me that he was so disappointed because Chris Herren was speaking at his college and he couldn’t get in to hear him because it was full. Spencer watched Chris’s story on TV and was so moved by his spirit. He talked about Chris often and wanted to do similar work and meet Chris someday. Unfortunately, Spencer relapsed and died from an overdose on January 15, 2016. Spencer had a heart of gold and touched so many people in his short time here on earth, hopefully in his passing he will touch many more.
Heartbroken that our 22 year old who was amazing in so many ways was gone, we knew that we needed to carry on what Spencer always wanted to accomplish. We contacted THP and everyone was extremely helpful and kind. Chris actually spoke in our hometown and we were fortunate to meet and speak with him. We felt Spencer’s presence so strongly at this meeting. Chris’s message is powerful and every young adult should hear it. Our family and Spencer’s friends are working together with THP to organize a run and to also raise funds in our area to support THP.
We hope to help prevent others from losing a piece of their heart. We also feel that had we known about THP when Spencer first came to us and asked for help, we would have gotten so much support and valuable guidance that we did not get locally. No one seemed to know where to send Spencer or how to help and when we did find places, they were all filled. We finally got him outpatient treatment in his college town because it was recommended and it failed to give Spencer the help he needed. This is where THP could have been so helpful had we known about them, so we are committed to helping THP.
- Jackie Kubala (Mother of Spencer Kubala) March 2016