Remembering My Brother and His 'Invisible Disability'

My parents, Pat and Brigid Hughes, talk about my brother Brian, who battled mental illness and AIDS. They discuss raising Brian and how they knew from the beginning that he needed more support than their other seven children.

My parents Pat and Brigid Hughes sat down with me to discuss what it was like to raise a child with mental illness.  It has been five years since my brother Brian died and yesterday (April 24th) would have been his 43rd birthday.  I felt compelled to share his story with you.

I think about my brother all the time.  He is with me everyday in my business life and my personal life.  I am forever grateful to my parents for making Brian part of our lives, and for their extraordinary generosity in sharing his story with people we have yet to meet.

Please watch this video to meet my brother Brian and our parents.


After I shot 40 minutes of video interviews with my parents, I struggled to tell this story.  I approached my cousin Terry Maday who is in the film business and asked for his help in telling a story that brings clarity to my brother's life.   Terry and Oscar Ayala both did an amazing job and I will be forever grateful for their support.

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Jamie Conroy Merrell April 29, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Humans who struggle with mental illness truly face one of the last stigmas standing. These are people who would otherwise have tremendous potential, but services to help them continue to shrink. Understanding about these afflictions is fleeting. There are thousands of Brians out there. Brian was a vital part of a vital family who stood by him in all the twists and turns of his life. This video is a shout out to Brian, and to all the others surviving with an invisible disability, My son Ben is one of you, and us. Jamie Conroy Merrell
Nancy Connors April 29, 2012 at 03:09 PM
It was my privilege to know this wonderful family and actually have Brian in school as one of my students at St. A's. It's a shame that Brian struggled during an era when so little was understood about being bipolar. Yet his family never deserted him. This is a thoughtful tribute to the Hughest family and the loving support which gave Brian more unconditional love than many receive in a lifetime of eight decades. Thank you for this haunting and thought-provoking story and video. Nancy Connors [formerly Ms. Bottrell]
Scott Leckman April 29, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Thank you for sharing this with us. I am reminded that we all have people like Brian in our lives. Scott Leckman
Annette Galban May 01, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Thank you for this beautiful tribute to Brian. Another reason why we love the Hughes.
Marni Foderaro May 31, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Kerry and I just finished watching this very special video. Kerry has many fond memories of having Brian in his class all of his years at St. A's. Our hearts go out to the entire Hughes family. You are in our thoughts and prayers....Marni Foderaro


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