3 Doors Down Guitarist Chris Henderson Named Person of the Year

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The JC Runyon Foundation will honor Chris Henderson as its Person of the Year to celebrate his two-year sobriety at its Annual Gala on March 15, at the Memphis Botanic Gardens.

The JC Runyon Foundation will honor Chris Henderson as its Person of the Year to celebrate his two-year sobriety at its Annual Gala on March 15, at the Memphis Botanic Gardens. The Foundation awards collegiate scholarships to students who, like Chris, have successfully completed a program for either substance abuse or psychiatric disorder. The scholarship recipients will also be celebrated at the Gala.

Henderson is a songwriter and the lead guitarist for the band 3 Doors Down, which is probably best known for its hits "Kryptonite" and "Here Without You," both of which were listed in the top 25 of Billboard's Top 100 Pop Songs, 1992-2012. Three of the band's five albums have gone multi-platinum.

Henderson was addicted to alcohol and drugs from the age of 12 until 40, when friends and family members did an intervention. He entered Cumberland Heights, an alcohol and drug treatment center outside of Nashville, in January 2012 and spent three months there. He has been drug and alcohol free since then and has adopted healthier eating habits as well. He and his girlfriend, Jessica, created a health and wellness website together, http://www.luvyouhealth.com. The site features their favorite snack, the Luv You PB&J Bar. His new healthy lifestyle and his participation in Narcotics Anonymous help keep Henderson sober now.

The Gala, which is open to the public, will begin with a cocktail reception and silent auction and end with music and dancing courtesy of DJ Flexx of Orlando, Florida. Items for auction include floor seats to a Grizzlies game, a rare signed Picasso sketch, a vacation in a luxury condo overlooking the famed Las Vegas Strip, original art work and pottery and much more. Tickets are $125 per person or $1250 for a table for ten. For more information see http://www.jcrunyonfoundation.org.

The JC Runyon Foundation was established in August 2010 to provide scholarships to students who have been through psychiatric or addiction in-patient treatment. It was founded in the spirit of the late John Charles "Jack" Runyon, a psychologist who spent his life tirelessly helping people who showed their dedication to "get better." It has awarded $34,000 worth of scholarships so far to Eliana Silbermann and Crystal Green (University of Memphis) and Regal Countess (Dyersburg State).

"Preparing for college is a stressful experience," says Foundation Executive Director Niki Runyon Shaheen, "but for those suffering with a behavioral health disorder, it's worse. Psychiatric care is very expensive and with limited mental health coverage available through most insurance policies, many families find themselves with few resources left to pay for college tuition."

Many young people require more than one stay at a rehabilitation facility and several months of outpatient care. The average cost often is equivalent to a year's tuition at a local university. "We want to fill in the gap and give students that boost to move toward a better future through higher education," Shaheen explains.

The JC Runyon Foundation consists of an all-volunteer Board, which means that 100% of the donations go directly to the students. To make a contribution or apply for the 2014-2015 award visit http://www.jcrunyonfoundation.org.

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Linda Schlesinger
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