Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. Bringing healing, justice, wholeness to people and communities.


August 23, 2012

Dear LSSI Supporter,

Could there be any greater sorrow in this world for a parent than the loss of a child? I can't imagine what it would be. Nor can I imagine how I would handle such devastating grief. But I know how I would hope to act; I would hope to follow the example of Randy and Sue Sycks.

Randy and Sue's son, Josh, became addicted to heroin in his late teens. Desperate for help, Sue called Lutheran Social Services of Illinois every day for six weeks, hoping to get her son into our inpatient treatment facility in Elgin.

Tragically, no bed was available. Josh Sycks died of an overdose in 2002 at the age of 20.

"As a parent when you lose a child, what do you do?" Randy says. "Anything that will ease the pain. We had to do something so that the same thing didn't happen to someone else's son."

(From left) Tim Sheehan, executive director of Behavioral Health Services at LSSI; Joseph Paul, director of the Elgin Behavioral Health Services Center, which is the recipient of the Josh Sycks Golf Classic; Sue Sycks and Randy Sycks, parents of Josh Sycks and organizers of the event; and David Jensen, COO at LSSI.

What did Randy and Sue decide to do? They began a golf fundraiser on behalf of LSSI treatment services in memory of their son. They have been the catalyst behind this event, which has raised more than $400,000 for LSSI's Elgin Center during the past decade. The Center helps people struggling with addiction a chance to learn a new way to live, without drugs or alcohol.

"It hasn't been us. One person can't do it by themselves. But to get a group of people together -- friends and LSSI supporters -- you can do a lot of good together," Randy says.

That good has now come full circle. The Golf Classic, which began as a way to honor their son's memory, has helped men and women get needed treatment, and has helped Randy and Sue as well. "We still think of him every day, but [the golf outing] has helped Sue and I heal to the point that we feel we can move away [from it] now."

And so the Grand Finale Josh Sycks Memorial Golf Classic will take place on September 10 at the Eagle Brook Country Club in Geneva. If you live in the area, I invite you to come and golf with us by registering online now. If you aren't a golfer, you can join us in the evening for dinner, a live auction and a time to say "Thank you!" to Randy and Sue.

As Randy says, we "can do a lot of good together." Follow Randy and Sue Sycks' lead. You never know how God can work through you to bring healing, justice and wholeness to others.
In Faith,

The Rev. Denver Bitner, D.Min.

P.S. A year ago in Good Works, I shared "Celebrating One Year of Being Sober," the story of Natalie, one of our Elgin Center alumni. I wanted to share an update from her with you. On September 1, Natalie will be celebrating her second anniversary of being sober! Of her experience at the Elgin Center, she says, "Every day, I take what I learned there and use it. You need the support of treatment - it's learning about your addiction and why you do the things you do. In treatment, you're learning about your disease and getting prepared for living without drugs and alcohol."



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