Two local women are taking addiction awareness on the road, hoping to change the stigma that surrounds addiction.
Tonda DaRe, founder of Holly’s Song of Hope (HSOH), and Marcie Miller, outreach director, embarked on a six-week tour June 29 that will take them to 13 states and 20 cities.
Holly’s Song of Hope’s mission is to “Change Stigma surrounding Addiction one Heart at a Time through Education and Understanding.” With that in mind the duo decided to take their educational presentation, Addiction 101, on the road “to reach even more hearts”, according to DaRe.
“The preliminary numbers coming in for overdose deaths in 2016 are staggering. In the state of Ohio alone we lost 3,050 of our sons and daughters in 2015, and we are looking at that number being at least 4,150 for 2016”, said DaRe. “That is the equivalent to 10 747 jets crashing a year in one state! Can you imagine what would occur if we had a 747 crashing in every state once a month for a year? Local, state and federal leaders would probably shut down all air traffic completely and millions of dollars (if not billions) would be released immediately to find out what was going on, as well as to provide support to the families: without a second thought from our leaders in Washington DC.”
DaRe and Miller will stay with members of their online support group, most of which they have never even met, who have offered a piece of floor for their air mattress to keep costs down. Each of the members is putting together events in their own towns for DaRe to speak and spread awareness.
DaRe and Miller note, between family, HSOH members and Addiction Campuses, they have raised what they ‘hope’ will be enough money for gas and food to support the trip that takes them from Cincinnati south through Nashville and Memphis all the way to Florida. They will head north to New Hampshire and eventually back to Ohio by mid August.
“We have no idea if we have enough money to do this but since God put it on my heart to do it, I know he’ll take care of whatever we need!,” DaRe stated. “He has already made some real miracles happen for this trip so I know he’s in charge and has it under control.”
DaRe and Miller have both suffered greatly through this epidemic which has given them the passion to do this trip. DaRe lost her daughter, Holly, to a heroin overdose in 2012, and started Holly’s Song of Hope two years later to educate others on the opiate epidemic.
“Although my daughter has not died, and I would never compare that loss to mine, I have lost my daughter to heroin. So together we are just two moms trying to make a difference in an epidemic many believe has nothing to do with them. We hear people say frequently we must break the stigma around addiction and Tonda took that literally! Since it’s impossible to bring everyone to us, we figure we will go to them.” said Miller about the trip. “We have no idea where this will lead us but if we save one life on this journey or bring comfort to someone in need, then it will be worth it! Our country is in so much turmoil right now that doing something “good” for others just makes sense.”
Like and follow Holly’s Song of Hope on facebook to follow their progress or watch random “Live” feeds.
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