The Addiction Awareness Group, started in 2016 by parents of addicts Cori Welch and Amy Pelow, are planning their second Addiction Awareness Walk for August 13th in Oswego. The Walk is free and open to the community to spread awareness about the growing problem of addiction. The WALK will start and end at the Oswego Elks Lodge with pre-registration now open. The day of the event, registration and sign-in will begin at 10:30 a.m. and the walk will start at 11:00 a.m. around Downtown Oswego. There are two routes planned, one for rain, followed by activities at the Elks Lodge including entertainment, raffles, vendors and education and support services available for those with an addiction and their family and friends. In addition to Cori and Amy, Meggan Gauger, Robin Burdick and Teresa Woolson are on the planning committee for this event.
Cori Welch stated, "Shock, denial, anger, depression, acceptance, then determination; These are the stages I went through as a parent of an addict. Some of these stages many times over. For the last several years my Daughter's addiction forced me to learn more about Heroin and Addiction than I ever imagined I would. On the other side, it led me to help collaborate with Amy Pelow and together we started a support group for Family and Friends of Addicts. We also were able to put together The Addiction Awareness Walk to help bring awareness and education about addiction. ADDICTION CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE! I am thankful my Daughter is in recovery and am hopeful everyday she will not look back! THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE!"
According to Amy Pelow, “As a mother, learning that your child is experimenting with drugs is horrifying. Coming to the realization that he has become addicted to heroin, the most addictive drug in the planet, is devastating. I will forever be thankful to the Oswego Hospital first responders, Judge Metcalf, Tim Kirwan, The Oswego City Police Department, The Oswego County Drug Task Force and Farnham for helping save my son. In an effort to help the friends and families of other addicts to know they are not alone, I co-founded the support group with Cori. Without her and the help of the other committee members, Teresa Woolson, Meggan Gauger, Robin Burdick, and the numerous businesses that have supported us, this walk would not be possible. Please reach out to our group for support and come walk with us August 13th to help spread awareness. Addiction does not discriminate.”
Robin Burdick, Drug-Free Communities Project Coordinator, Oswego County Prevention Coalition, said “It has been a pleasure to work with a group of passionate individuals who are committed to taking the stigma off of those afflicted with addiction. As with any other disease/illness, if we, truly, want to help people seek a healthier lifestyle we can't define them by their condition. Together we can help breakdown the stigma of addiction and help to promote recovery. Please "walk" with us on August 13th.“
“The VOW Foundation is honored to be a part of this annual event, providing education and awareness to the community about the disorder of addiction. The information provided at the event will help all community members, from those who know very little about addiction to those suffering daily. Plans include speakers and entertainment, something for everyone. Bring the family out for a great awareness walk, education and a fun afternoon,” said Teresa Woolson, President of the VOW Foundation.
Meggan Gauger, a member of the VOW Foundation, provided her thoughts on recovery: “As a recovering addict I wanted to come together with the addiction awareness group , vow foundation and Farnham to save lives. I have been to the dark places with my addiction I have also gone though the court system and treatment but that doesn't define me as a person. We have been pushing to help save lives and we knew doing the addiction awareness walk was a great way to help others, educate and have recourses available for the community. We need to come together and help break the stigma of addiction and bring hope to the ones still struggling.“
Samantha Welch added, "I struggled with addiction for 8 long years. Addiction is a disease. Addiction takes over your whole entire life! Everything you do is to get high. You lose everything, even your will to live! It was to the point where I hoped and prayed every shot would be my last and that feeling sucks! I had lost everything. My whole life crashed down. I lost my kids, my family, my house, my car, almost my life, and eventually my freedom. But, going to Jail was the best thing to happen to me, it saved my life. Now I am almost 16 months sober and have come so far. Recovery is not easy. It is a struggle, but is is worth it. I pray everyday for everyone still in active addiction gets the help they need. I just want everyone to understand addiction and will continue to spread awareness because it is so important. People need to stop judging addicts and start trying to help!!
If you would like to sponsor, pre-register to walk, donate raffle items, order a T-Shirt or volunteer to help, please contact Cori Welch at 532-8518 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The group meets on the 2nd Tuesday at Farnham Family Services at 283 West Second Street in Oswego. The August Meeting on the 8th will include time to create a sign/poster to carry during the Walk. All community members are welcome. Watch the Event Page on Facebook for updates.