Rilo Foundation

Garrett Walston, Tight End at the University of North Carolina, is teaming up with LAA to create a suicide prevention campaign on behalf of his dear friend, Riley Estes, who tragically took his own life this year. Head Coach Mac Brown has allowed Walston to dedicate his season to Riley with a sticker on his helmet in Riley’s memory. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $1 Million to donate to the RILO Foundation and create a local and national movement spotlighting suicide prevention. The RILO Foundation, also an acronym for Reasons I Live On, is on a mission to have an impact on anyone who might be struggling with depression while honoring Riley. We are reaching out to organizations big and small to partner with on contributions and publicity.

Garrett Walston

“In my life I have been fortunate to have two little brothers. One blood related, and one not blood related but equally as close. Riley Estes was my second little brother, and was one of the most loving and carefree individuals I have ever been around. His contagious smile and laugh made anybody he was around feel loved and full of joy. The passing of my second little brother to suicide has been very hard on me and my family, as well as his family because he was such a bright spot in all of our lives. For my senior season at UNC I will be playing for my little brother Riley and helping to bring suicide prevention to light.”

Brian & Gretchen Estes

Being the father of an outgoing jovial boy who takes his own life just takes your breath away. Riley seemingly had everything going for him with a great life ahead of him, but one thing kept him from seeing reality. Anxiety of daily life and depression caused by simple roadblocks caused him to feel out of control. He felt like he had nowhere to turn, but in reality he had one of the strongest support networks right at his fingertips. I spent 19 wonderful years raising this great kid Riley. Now, I will spend all the remaining years I have on earth, making sure his sudden death does not fade in the sunset.

We created the RILO foundation (his nickname was Rilo) but the acronym means so much more. With Riley as the backbone of this effort, all involved will be driven to give those who need it the most the strength to wake up the next day with, Reasons I Live On. This foundation will be singularly focused on providing troubled teens an avenue to receive help and guidance when needed. How profound would it be through the death of a perfectly wonderful son, was born an even greater calling that could save many “Rileys” over time.

With LAA driving out the message, and Garrett Walston along with the entire UNC Football team being the vehicle for motivation, I can only hope and pray Riley Estes will someday let us know how we are making a difference.

Message from LAA

When Garrett originally signed with me at LAA I had already known of this tragic event because Riley is the other nephew of my aunt. When I talked to Garrett further about this, and spoke with Riley’s father, I knew I had to do something to make an impact. I personally have seen too many families suffer through this situation. In college, I was standing next to one of my best friends and teammates when he got the call from his mother that his dad had taken his life. I will never forget holding my friend on that hotel room floor as he collapsed to the ground. I’ll also never forget the phone call I got from my best friend in Orlando when he told me that his older sister had shot herself. I know at least 5 other people that have gone through this. Enough is enough. The statistics are alarming. There are not enough people talking about this because it is out of sight out of mind until it happens to someone close to you. My own father started an entire men’s ministry around this subject. Now it is our turn at LAA to use our platform to bring real national attention to this suicide pandemic and start making a difference.

– Garrett Etheridge, LAA

Fly High RILO

Riley was born in Wilmington, North Caroline on March 2, 2001 to parents Brian and Gretchen Estes and his older brother Burke. He attended New Hanover High School where he played football and baseball and graduated in 2019. Out of high school, he attended the University of Arkansas as a freshman and then due to the pandemic, enrolled at UNC Wilmington as a sophomore. He was an avid outdoorsman and loved fishing, hunting, scuba diving and spending time with his friends. Two of his best friends happened to be brothers Blake Walston and LAA client, Garrett Walston. Riley had an incredible smile and sense of humor and made a positive impact on everyone he came across. The Estes family, the Walston brothers and all of his loved ones want nothing more than his story and legacy to continue to have an impact on others by creating awareness around this tragic subject.

Fundraising Options

  • Flat $50,000 donation on behalf of said corporation or university to be presented to the RILO Foundation on the field at UNC game, with Garrett Walston
  • A per-touchdown donation throughout the season
  • Organization will donate $1000 per UNC touchdown scored throughout the entire season, including bowl game or CFP
  • $5000 per touchdown Garrett Walston scores
  • A direct contribution of any size, big or small, on our fundraising page

Currently raised 10K out of our 1M goal

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