Wendy McCready of Pekin and Tamara Olt of Dunlap share a sad fact and a common goal. They lost children to heroin overdoses, and they seek to save others from that fate.
On Saturday, McCready will take her growing grass-roots battle back to Pekin’s Mineral Springs Park, where the Fight the Fight group she’s formed will hold its second annual rally.
The group will team up with an organization Olt, a Peoria-based physician, formed after her son’s death five years ago. The organization provides naloxone, also known as Narcan, to drug addicts and their concerned families.
Paramedics and other first responders use the anti-opiate to quickly bring drug victims out of the often fatal effects of heroin and opioid overdoses.
Thanks to Olt’s Jolt Foundation, McCready’s group will give the antidote away free Saturday “to anyone and everyone” who takes a 10-minute lesson on what it is and how to use it, she said.
While naloxone saves drug victims’ lives, McCready also wants to help them save their future.
She hopes for a large crowd at Fight the Fight’s Addiction Awareness Walk, to be held from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Pekin park.
Its goal, she said, “is to bring awareness to the community about the addiction problems we have,” and the resources available to battle them. Those include temporary residences for recovering drug and alcohol abusers known as Sober Living Houses.
Fight the Fight’s first walk last year raised about $6,000 in donations and purchases of T-shirts and hoodies promoting the group. McCready said much of the money was used to pay first-month rents for people living in the homes — under monitored no-drug, no-alcohol conditions — in Peoria and Springfield.
McCready wants to establish a Sober Living House in Pekin.
Her group is working toward that goal with agencies including Springfield-based Gateway Foundation, an in-house addiction treatment center, the Tazewell County Drug Court Program and the Pekin Police Department.
The Addiction Awareness Walk on Saturday will feature information booths and several speakers, including recovering addicts and treatment officials. Live music will be provided, a dove release and race will take place and, to cap the event, those attending will walk in solidarity around the park’s lagoon.
Donations and clothing sales will help defray the event’s costs, including event insurance, McCready said. Fight the Fight shirts and hoodies also will be available for purchase from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Gateway Foundation’s Pekin office at 11 S. Capitol St.
For more information about the walk and the organization, including how to donate, call McCready at 369-2887, Jennifer Stout at 620-5514, or Bryce Foster at 338-0240 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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