In the past six months the crisis has gotten worse. In that time deaths have increased 18% in Connecticut according to Hartford HealthCare, and I can’t believe it’s much better elsewhere.
Over 130 people a day are dying in America from the crisis.
No, I’m not talking about the Covid-19 pandemic- that’s today’s crisis. This is the Opioid Overdose crisis- you remember, the one that filled daily newspapers just a few short months ago with stories of loved ones lost to the scourge and countless reports about collaborations among law enforcement, civic and private organizations scrambling for ways to stem the overdose tide.
It was the most important issue of the day.
But that was yesterday. In March we shifted crises. Since then Covid has replaced Opioid as the operative word, and nary a piece will you read about opioid overdoses. It’s as if our attention spans can’t juggle simultaneous traumas.
Monday, Aug 31st was International Overdose Awareness Day and it couldn’t have arrived at a better time to remind us that the other crisis is still very much with us. Hundreds of pairs of shoes will dangle from the Burrand Bridge in Vancouver, left by loved ones of overdose deaths.
And to symbolize their losses hundreds more would have clamped Love Locks onto a special gate during the Matt Herring Foundation’s Overdose Awareness Walk on Poughkeepsie’s Walkway Over the Hudson (sadly canceled this year due to the pandemic along with many others on sportingAcause.com).
The International Overdose Awareness Day reminds us that nearly 70,000 people in America, mostly young, die every year from overdoses.
But that was Monday’s reminder. What about tomorrow?
I don’t think there is a more devastating illness than ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). This neurodegenerative treachery robs its victims of muscular control. First it limits and then eliminates leg and hand movements, then finally it impedes the ability to swallow and breath. But it leaves the mind intact- fully aware of its body’s condition.
ALS affects the sufferers’ family/caregivers as well. It levies a ponderous emotional and financial toll. Once diagnosed, the average lifespan for someone with ALS is two to five years. It is always fatal.
Organizations like the ALS Foundation are working to support ALS sufferers and their families while also funding research for treatments and a cure.
For the past eight years Nicole Roy and Team Roy have participated in the Ride to Defeat ALS to raise much-needed funds for the ALS Foundation. She lost her father Paul to ALS over 20 years ago. He was a great man and a good friend of mine whose smile was infectious. As I’ve said in a previous blog , smiling may be the bravest thing you can do when you have ALS.
Nicole is looking for your support to help raise money for the ALS Foundation. If you are able to give, please go here to donate: :https://www.facebook.com/donate/1191671207873585/10219707843141627/.
And as Nicole says “Every little bit helps”.