Assembly Sends Powerful Message about APEDs


Staff, Reporters

Donald Hooton Jr. was the lone visitor on the gymnasium floor with a powerful message to share with Radford’s youth.

“I present over 75-100 programs a year on top of telling Taylor’s story for various media outlets and interviews.  It’s very therapeutic and since the video tells the story about how Taylor lost his life I don’t have to,” Hooton wrote in an email to the RamPage staff. “Typically if I have to tell Taylor’s story and what happened to him on 07/15, I do get emotional which sometimes it takes time to gather myself.”

Donald’s 17-year old brother Taylor Hooton committed suicide after using Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs. In memory of Taylor, the family created the Taylor Hooton Foundation.

According to Educational Program Manager Damian Q. Martinez, THF is a non-profit organization working to educate people on the dangers of APEDs, anabolic steroids, and dietary supplements and their use among youth, young adults, and adult influencers.

“We deliver around 250 programs a year including NFL, MLB and programs in schools and other associations (includes Canada and Latin America),” Martinez wrote in an email to the RamPage staff.

During Hooton ’s visit to the island, he also spoke to an audience at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Hooton  kept his presentation simple and direct with anecdotal stories, and statistics. Video clips of people who also lost family members to APEDs, steroids, and supplements accompanied the multimedia presentation, appealing to the audience’s emotions.

Approximately 2 million middle school and high school students admit they have used anabolic steroids. That’s about 25-45 kids in every average high school in America. Also, over 1. 5 million teens admit to using anabolic steroids, and teen girls are the fastest growing group of new users, according to THF (

According to the THF website, it states, “We educate on manufacturing standards and the potential dangers of using both dietary supplements and anabolic steroids.”

After sitting through the presentation, Kiana Sun (12) said that some students may rationalize the use of drugs because “the idea of the perfect body has morphed throughout the years, encouraging the use of steroids.”

Hooton  was quick to share some of the effects that accompany the use of APEDs which was not lost on audience members.

“I have learned today that you shouldn’t cheat at sports with strength inducing pills, and that taking aforementioned pills is going to induce roid rage,” Riley Lamarca (9) said.

Hooton  further shared stories of people who resorted to taking steroids in their attempts to promote muscle gain and improve body image, and were surprised with short and long-term effects.

“When people stop taking steroids, the [first] four to six weeks are the worst,” Martin Badley (9) said. “I also learned that most teens use it to accelerate in a sport.”

“Steroids can cause many long-term effects like heart disease and depression,” Karvin Chai-Whitford (9) said.

Jacob Knoll (11) said, “I learned that boys and girls who take steroids can have the appearance of the opposite gender.”

Jeralyn Finuliar (11) captured the presentation’s message when she said, “You don’t have to do drugs to do your best at what you love doing.”


Rams sit in a special assembly to learn about the dangers of Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs anabolic steroids, and dietary supplements, and their use among youth, and young adults. Donald Hooton Jr. lost his brother to suicide after he used APEDs. “I present over 75-100 programs a year on top of telling Taylor’s story for various media outlets and interviews,” Hooton said.