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How one family turned their son’s tragic death into an online legacy

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On July 3, 2020, Bradi Nathan received the call no parent wants to receive: her son, Jack, had passed away at the age of nineteen. The night before, Jack had been to a friend’s birthday party and swallowed what he thought was a Percocet. The pill was laced with fentanyl and he didn’t wake up.

Brad Nathan

Before Jack passed away, he had founded a company called Happy Jack, an online lifestyle brand and community designed for people struggling with mental illness. Jack had periodic depressions and painting became his therapy. Happy Jack showcased the founder’s designs on clothing, with a portion of the proceeds going to mental health foundations. From the very first week of sales, Jack donated $1,000 to the Child Mind Institute.

Bradi chose to continue what Jack started to honor his legacy and continue his mission.

“He wanted to change the world,” Jack’s mother recalled. “He wanted to make this world a better place by speaking openly and letting other kids know they weren’t alone.”

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A son’s brand as a mother’s therapy

Bradi continues to use Jack’s designs in new product drops and has since donated $60,000 to mental health foundations such as Active Minds, Born This Way, Release Recovery and the American Cancer Society. The road to donation is not an easy one: sourcing, manufacturing, distribution, site management, customer service, and fulfillment were all roles Bradi took on during her son’s absence.

“It’s funny when someone tells me they’ve contacted customer service,” Bradi revealed, “because l am customer service.”

Happy Jack is a family run business that is happy to receive advice and consultation from experts as they grow the brand organically. Bradi and Jack’s father, David, would eventually like to have a COO, get funding and build proper infrastructure. This would give them room to focus on sharing Jack’s story in person.

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Heal while you help

With the additional help of Jack’s sister, Drew, the project partners with fraternities across the country to host fundraising events. Brand ambassadors on college campuses are enlisted to help create mental health awareness. Happy Jack has also operated pop-up shops in spaces such as WeWork and the Seaport District. This allows the family to meet and share stories with many who are also struggling.

“There was never a question whether I would continue Happy Jack or not,” Bradi added. “It seemed like the obvious thing to do.”

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Shreya has been with australiabusinessblog.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider australiabusinessblog.com, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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