Over a hundred people laced up their shoes and walked two miles Saturday morning — each of them hoping to raise awareness of opioid addiction during the 4th Annual Overdose Awareness Walk in Sinnissippi Park.
Most everyone in attendance knows someone who lost their life to an overdose, including organizer Rebecca Rogers. Her brother, Jay, died of an overdose in 2014.
“I want people to know that there’s no judgment here. We love everyone. We want you to feel supported. We want you to feel not ashamed anymore,” said Rogers.
Participants came ready to spread a message of hope for those struggling with addiction.
Some made signs — others wore the faces of lost loved ones on their shirts, like Quinn Meadows.
“This is my brother Cassidy,” Meadows explained. “He passed away from a heroin overdose in 2006. Something to relate to and a lot of other people to relate with.”
Between 2014 and 2017, there were 412 overdose deaths in Winnebago County alone. Rogers says she wants those battling addiction to know there is help out there for them.
“We have plenty of outlets here for you and everyone here has a different story and we are just about sharing it and making sure you have a safe place,” she said.
Both Rogers and Meadows say they hope everyone who came out to participate walks away with a sense of hope.
“Hopefully (they’re) hopeful, you know, knowing that you aren’t alone you know. There’s a large part of this community that suffers just like they do,” said Meadows.
“It’s really important just to save a life. Could be your loved one, a family member, or a stranger on the street,” adds Rogers.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can reach out on the Overdose Awareness Walk website if you click here.