We have had the opportunity to make many new friends with shared goals along our SafeLaunch journey, and want you to know more about them. From time to time we'll use this space to make you aware of other groups involved in preventing addiction. This time, we're putting a special focus on some courageous parents who have lost a child and found the strength to help others.
You may have noticed the name Team Sharing in previous emails or on our Facebook page. Founded in 2015 by Cheryl Juaire in Massachusetts, Team Sharing is a national organization of parents who have lost a child to Substance Use Disorder. Cheryl lost her son Corey in 2011. Lacking a support group, she grieved alone until she met some other mothers with a shared experience. Together, they realized that they could get through it better together and Team Sharing was born. Through social networking, community activism, grief services and advocacy, Team Sharing provides support and friendship to grieving families while working to raise awareness of Substance Use Disorder and its impact in our communities and on our country. They are now 21 state chapters strong. Many of the young people in our Wind Beneath Our Wings memorial are children of Team Sharing members.
You may wonder why a prevention organization like SafeLaunch would collaborate with a grief support organization. It's a simple answer: They are fully educated about this disease; they lived it and had their hearts broken by it. The suffering and grief caused by Substance Use Disorder is what SafeLaunch works to prevent. When we collaborate with them, we reduce the stigma surrounding the brain disease of addiction and the invisible cloud that causes grieving families to suffer alone. If you know someone grieving child loss, reach out to them and say their child's name. Share a memory of their child with them because no one should grieve alone. You can learn more about Team Sharing here.
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? If you're Debi Goldstein Nadler, you get busy. When Debi's son Brett became addicted to pain pills, she got involved in the recovery movement. When Brett died in 2018, she started meeting hundreds of parents who has also lost a child. One of these new friends was Juli Shamash whose son Tyler also died the same year. United by grief, they started Moms Against Drugs to promote drug abuse awareness and overdose prevention, and provide support to other moms wanting to organize awareness events.
One of their events grew beyond expectations-- the Drug Epidemic Awareness Walk Across America. Prior to the Covid pandemic, they formed state groups and started walking in cities across the country carrying banners with hundreds of faces of their loved ones. Then, Covid hit and the country was shut down. What's a mom to do? If you're Debi, you stay in the fight. You create state banners with photographs of hundreds of young people lost to drugs. And then, with help from a grieving father from Florida, you wrap an RV with the faces and names of children lost to the disease and drive it across the country making stops along the way to meet with grieving families. The final event of the RV's westward journey culminated this week in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can watch the news report here. Learn more about Moms Against Drugs here.
Along with the many parents grieving the loss of a child, you are invited to join the SafeLaunch Parent Alliance to help us educate legislators, educators, and community leaders about our obligation to do all we can to prevent the loss of one more life to substance use disorder through adolescent drug prevention and education. There is strength in numbers and we need you.