Project Echo holds walk to re­mem­ber those lost to ad­dic­tion

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By CHESSA REID

On May 6, Farm­ing 4 Hunger worked in part­ner­ship with Project Echo, a home­less shel­ter in Prince Fred­er­ick, to host its an­nual Tri-County Memorial Walk for friends and fam­i­lies mourn­ing those lost to ad­dic­tion.

Teresa Beavers, de­vel­op­ment direc­tor at Project Echo, said the walk orig­i­nated as an idea by house man­ager Lori Hony and board of direc­tors pres­i­dent Henry Trent­man, which soon evolved into an event aimed to raise aware­ness to­ward a much big­ger prob­lem.

“I think when peo­ple come in and see how many oth­ers are here, they re­al­ize they’re not alone,” Beavers said. “This is our com­mu­nity, it’s hap­pen­ing every­where and it’s okay to talk about it.”

The walk be­gan at 9 a.m. at Seren­ity Farm in Bene­dict, where more than 200 fam­i­lies and friends met with oth­ers who’ve ex­pe­ri­enced sim­i­lar losses and dis­cov­ered re­sources avail­able for fam­i­lies cop­ing with ad­dic­tion.

“A lot of this has to do with who they were; they were chil­dren from mu­si­cians, they were writ­ers or sol­diers, but they weren’t their ad­dic­tion, they were so much more than that,” said Corri Roberts, founder of South­ern Mary­land Over­dose Death Sup­port.

Or­ga­ni­za­tions present at this year’s event in­cluded Mary­land Coali­tion for Fam­i­lies and Par­ents Af­fected By Ad­dic­tion, which pro­vides sup­port for fam­i­lies while break­ing stig­mas sur­round­ing par­ents of chil­dren strug­gling with ad­dic­tion.

How­ever, for many loved ones, find­ing avail­able re­sources can be chal­leng­ing.

“We’ve got to get this down and un­der con­trol. This is a great be­gin­ning, but the treat­ment has to be avail­able,” said Su­san Solo­ducha, a Calvert County res­i­dent who shared the story of her son, Ni­cholas Solo­ducha, who died from a drug over­dose al­most two years ago.

“We’ve got to get it out there so that peo­ple know where to go and what’s avail­able through the county,” she said.

For fam­i­lies like Solo­ducha’s, the walk held an over­whelm­ing mes­sage of hope.

“Ev­ery­thing comes one day at a time. Just like any other treat­ment, just know that brighter days lie ahead, and as long as we keep mov­ing for­ward, then that’s a good thing,” Solo­ducha said.

PHO­TOS BY CHESSA REID

Vol­un­teers handed out sun­flower seeds as a part of the seed plant­ing cer­e­mony which com­mem­o­rates the lives of loved ones lost to ad­dic­tion.

Calvert County res­i­dent Su­san Solo­ducha con­sols Frankie Sauder af­ter com­ing across her son Ni­cholas Solo­ducha’s memorial dur­ing the third an­nual Tri-County Memorial Walk at Seren­ity Farm in Bene­dict.

Corri Roberts ex­plains the pur­pose of her or­ga­ni­za­tion, South­ern Mary­land Over­dose Death Sup­port — a group she founded af­ter the death of her son, Gre­gory, which helps pro­vide a safe place for par­ents cop­ing

Fam­ily mem­bers and friends of those who have been lost to ad­dic­tion stop to pay re­spects dur­ing the halfmile memorial walk at Seren­ity Farm in Bene­dict on May 6.

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