Candlelight vigil to be held for International Overdose Awareness Day

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?????Marlborough – In memory of those who have lost their battle with addiction, over 1,000 purple flags will be placed on the front lawn of the Walker Building later this month. The public is then invited to an International Overdose Awareness Day candlelight vigil that will be held there Monday, Aug. 31 at 7:30 p.m.

Those who have lost a loved one to addiction may send a photo to be included in a memorial slideshow to the event’s coordinator, Kathy Leonard, at [email protected]. Photos should be submitted by Thursday, Aug. 27.

Overdose Awareness Day has been a key remembrance event for those who have died from fatal drug overdoses since 2001. On Aug. 31 thousands of people worldwide will stand alongside the friends and families of fatal overdose victims to reflect on those who have been lost. The event is organized, Leonard said, with the understanding that no one need feel shame or disgrace over a drug overdose.

“Overdose Awareness Day offers all who have been affected by overdose a chance to publicly mourn and help the wider community understand that fatal overdose profoundly affects mainstream society,” she said. “We lose an average of 120 lives per day in this country to overdose. “

Leonard herself knows that pain all too well. Her 27-year-old son Jonathan Testa died from a heroin overdose last December. Since then, she, along with another mother, Cheryl Juaire, who lost her son Corey Merrill, 23, in 2011, also to a heroin overdose, have formed a support group for relatives and friends of loved ones with drug addiction. (For more information visit http://communityadvocate.com/2015/05/12/moms-turn-grief-into-recovery-through-local-support-group/. )

The flags are being donated through the generosity of the Jacqueline Olivo Foundation, Inc.

The Walker Building is located at 255 Main St. In case of rain, the vigil will be held at the First Church in Marlborough, Parish Hall, 37 High St.

For more information call Leonard at 508-460-2002 or email [email protected].