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Efrain Marrero’s Story

Frank and Brenda Marrero

Presented by his parents, Frank and Brenda Marrero

A short time ago, we arrived home to a scene that has shattered the very fabric of our family–a horror that is forever seared in our souls. We found our oldest son, Efrain, in our bedroom dead from a self–inflicted gunshot wound to the head. At age nineteen, Efrain had grown to be a fine, respectable and loving young man. Sure, he had his share of youthful stumbles along the way, but he responded well to our guidance. He had the highest respect for his parents and was very kind at heart. He adored his baby brother, Ethyn and younger sister, Erika. He was raised in a solidly Christian home, and had embraced his faith. A hard working young man, he was attending a local community college, studying hard...he had a plan for his life, a direction. We couldn’t have loved him more! 

Efrain was preparing to play football at the community college he was attending, but didn’t want to play his normal position of lineman. He wanted a more prestigious position of linebacker. Efrain began using steroids, under the impression that it would make him bigger, stronger, faster, and earn him the title and recognition he so much desired. Efrain, unaware of the serious side–affects of steroids, began to experience severe paranoia and deep depression, but did the right thing and turned to his parents, mom and dad, for help. Approximately three weeks before his death, Efrain told us that he was using steroids and was afraid that something was terribly wrong. He said that in one of his classes he felt as if people were staring at him and laughing, and also said “Dad, I don’t care for much anymore.” Until this conversation the thought of our son using steroids never crossed our mind.

After he disclosed he was using steroids, we did what any responsible and caring parent would do–we told him that using steroids was wrong and that he needed to stop, and he did. We then consulted our family physician, who assured us the substances would pass out of his system soon–no further action was required. Little did we know that advising our son to quit using steroids “cold turkey” was ill–advised, and that our family physician failed to provide us with an appropriate course of action. Three weeks later, on September 26, 2004, Efrain killed himself, and left no doubt in our families’ and friends’ minds that the deep depression associated with the use and sudden withdrawal of steroids led to our beautiful son’s death. In loving memory of our son we founded The Efrain Anthony Marrero Foundation, Fighting Against Steroids Together

To continue our efforts in raising awareness of the life–threatening dangers of steroid use – and to continue to honor the life of our son – we are proud to give your organization a presentation. For more information about the foundation, please visit our newly updated and improved web site at or or call 707–447–1058. Together, I know we can realize our shared goals of ending the harm and abuse of steroids to our children. We are tremendously grateful for your support! 

Frank lost his oldest son to steroid abuse on September 26, 2004. At age 19, Efrain Anthony Marrero was like so many teenagers in our community. He was active in sports, popular with classmates and was adored by his parents, Frank and Brenda Marrero of Vacaville, CA. Often called the “gentle giant” by those that loved him, Efrain was known for his kindness and commitment to being a successful adult.

That tragic event has forever changed their family in ways they are still struggling to understand. But one thing is certain; they have dedicated the rest of their lives to preventing this devastating loss from happening to other families. To that end they have established The Efrain Anthony Marrero Foundation, Fighting Against Steroids Together.

Today the Marrero’s honor Efrain’s memory by educating teens, parents, coaches and the medical community about the dangers of steroid abuse. Frank Marrero, Efrain’s father, has spoken throughout the United States to high schools, Air Force units, congress, and athletic organizations about Efrain’s story, suicide prevention and steroid awareness. Together they know we can realize our shared dream of saving our children from substance abuse.

Frank Marrero is a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve and a pilot with United Airlines for 15 years. He is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and a 25-year decorated veteran most recently serving his nation in Operation Iraqi Freedom.



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