Families Fighting Addiction plans two events

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Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News (From left): Tonya Ramsey, a mental health and substance abuse counselor, and Tracy Burtis, executive director of Families Fighting Addiction, worked together on the new organization's board to get more support groups for families suffering the effects of loved ones' addiction. Families Fighting Addiction has events set up on Aug. 31 and Sept. 21.

BELOIT - Families Fighting Addiction has two upcoming events to help raise awareness of the growing opioid crisis and to support those impacted by it.

"Come out and show your support for those who are struggling and those who we have lost to this epidemic," said Families Fighting Addiction founder Tracy Burtis.

The First Annual Overdose Awareness Walk is set to begin at 4 p.m. on Aug. 31. The two-mile walk begins and ends at 101 Maple St., at the parking lot of the Rock Bar and Grill.

People are encouraged to walk to remember those lost to addiction and to bring banners to show support and promote awareness.

T-shirts will be for sale for $12. For more information people can contact Burtis at 608-346-9774.

Burtis said more than 40 people have already expressed interest in the walk.

Families Fighting Addiction also will host its Second Annual Faces of Addiction event where local community members will share stories of how addiction has impacted their lives. It will be held from 4 - 7 p.m. on Sept. 21 at the pavilion of The Rock Bar and Grill. Speakers will begin at 5 p.m.

Local businesses have donated items to be raffled off and there will be a 50-50 raffle. Recovery service providers will be available for questions and answers as well as Youth2Youth for Change.

Speakers will be as follows: Beloit Police Chief David Zibolski, Beloit Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Joe Murray, Recovery Coach and President of Lifeline to Recovery Mike Sheridan, Evan McNamara from Homecare Pharmacy, Chad Woodman of the Death, Rehab or Prison Program (DROP) as well as mothers who have lost their children to addiction.

Burtis has a lot of firsthand experience surrounding the pain of addiction. Her 30-year-old son Cody Burtis overdosed and died in January 2017 in South Beloit. After his passing, she struggled with finding support groups and from the stigma of her son's type of death and has helped launch some new support groups in the area.

Burtis said the Grieving, Recovery, After Substance Passing group hosts support group meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays in the Lobby Conference Room at Beloit Memorial Hospital.

Families Fighting Addiction has additional support group meetings at 6 p.m. Thursdays at 816 Fourth Street in Suite 202.

Families Fighting Addiction also meets at 10 a.m. on Saturdays at Blackhawk Technical College in Room 2100 B.

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