Boston Bulldogs Founder Mike Ferullo Offers Life Lesson to CM Students
West Roxbury, Mass.— Boston Bulldogs Running Club founder Mr. Mike Ferullo left 60 Catholic Memorial School students with an inspiring message about how he kicked his heroin addiction, found a passion for running, and founded his own non-profit support group during a special lecture at the school’s library on Wednesday afternoon.
“I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t humble myself and ask for help,” said Mr. Ferullo.
“Once you notice you’re developing an issue with substances, you need to ask for help.”
Mr. Ferullo warned the audience that substance abuse and addiction begins with improper coping methods to mental health issues, especially those left undiagnosed in adolescents. He told the audience that men suffer most when social norms discourage them from speaking up about mental health issues-- especially in cases of depression and anxiety. In these cases, men needed seek help instead of hiding, he said.
“That’s the stigma I want to break,” he said.
“If you’re struggling and you try to deal with it on your own because you might come across as weak, then you’re in trouble.”
Mr. Ferullo, 70-years-old, founded the Boston Bulldogs in 2015 to establish a reward-based structure for addicts who hoped to find support in a community of runners. A former heroin addict himself, he gave up the drug for good in 1976. When he founded his support group years later, Mr. Ferullo wanted it to empower people and discover a new way to cope with the root of their addiction.
Higher rates of addiction vary with stress and genetics according to Mr. Ferullo. However, Mr. Ferullo believes that the best way to avoid addiction all together begins with avoiding the temptation to use the substance in the first place.
He shared how he found an alternative coping method to his own heroin addiction when he picked up running. Running, he believes, provided him with a natural high that saved his life and gave it meaning.
Mr. Kevin Durazo, the school’s Director of Campus Ministry, and Mr. John Finn, the school’s varsity soccer coach, coordinated the lecture. Both will lead a group of CM students to the Boston Bulldog’s annual Run for Recovery 5K race on Sunday, May 19 at Franklin Park.
The annual run offers a tribute to those who battle, or lost their lives to, addiction according to the Boston Bulldogs website.
“You’ve got to be willing to fail,” said Mr. Ferullo.
“You can’t expect to grow and succeed without failure. Our group challenges people to be accountable for their growth.”