... with atTAcK addiction, this is an organization that has become very near and dear to both of our hearts. Jeanne & Don Keister formed it after losing their son Tyler to an accidental heroin overdose in 2012, and in just a few years this group has accomplished more than the Keister family ever thought possible. Our mission is to spread the word about addiction by educating students and the community, assisting families in their quest for information, and supporting those in recovery.
In 2016, Donna and I held the auction before the annual atTAcK Addiction 5K, in order to help raise funds for our respective teams. We figured we'd get a few donations and maybe raise a few thousand dollars. We pulled everything together in a little over a month, and thanks to our incredibly generous donors and almost 400 of our nearest and dearest friends and family who attended the event, we raised a little over NINETEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!!
Here are some of the ways funds have been used:
Partnered with Connections Community Support Programs to open both men's and women's transitional and recovery living facilities. As of right now there is one women's transition house, one women's recovery house, and a men's recovery house is slated to open later this month. Each house costs about $150,000/year to run and the goal is to open many more of these houses throughout the state.
Awarded a total of ten college scholarships to people in recovery at the annual "Be Our Hero Gala" over the last two years- Offered a prevention program called "The Reality Tour," a drug awareness and prevention program that takes you into the life experiences of a teen addicted to drugs</li>
Hosted events like "Passport to Awareness" and "Destination Awareness" which help to educate our youth and community about addiction</li>
Advertising about the 911 Good Samaritan Law and educational literature provided to the community
Provided assistance to those needing help getting into a sober living facility
Sponsored softball teams for people in recovery
Ashley and Sarah
Just to give you a little backstory on both of us and why we are both so passionate about this cause, Donna lost her beautiful daughter Ashley in December of 2008 when she was hit by a car crossing Kirkwood Highway. She had been through detox and was leaving an outpatient rehab program the night of the accident. There were opiates in her system, along with a trace amount of alcohol. Donna came to her first atTAcK addiction meeting basically to shut me up, and in the span of that night she realized why I kept gushing about how I had found my saving grace in those meetings.
Like Donna, I lost a part of my heart to addiction as well. My younger sister Sarah took her own life on on April 1, 2014 after battling a drug addiction for years. Heroin was her ultimate downfall, and she died 17 days before my wedding day. She was beautiful, and selfless, and hilarious, and the opposite of everything you think of when you conjure up an image of a stereotypical addict. Since her death, I have been doing everything I can to try to help bring some strength to "someone else's Sarah," along with their loved ones.
Aside from their issues with addiction, Sarah and Ashley had another thing in common - they were both known for their smiles and their contagious laughter.
It's safe to say that anyone who knew them will tell you they miss their light and laughter the most.That's just who they were. Even in their darkest hours, they were light, and they were laughter.
We are both doing everything we can to help erase the stigma that goes along with addiction, and the money we raise will go towards just that.
110 S West St, Wilmington, Delaware 19801
Thursday, May 3rd
5.30 - 8.30 pm