Cordova Mom Fundraising for Billboards to Combat Drug Overdoses
This Christmas a Cordova mom is asking for the community's help to combat the heroin epidemic.
Becky Farruggia began a campaign to raise money for billboards to share a message about drug overdoses.
According to the U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton's office, so far in 2016 the Memphis Police Department has investigated 91 deadly heroin overdose cases and 288 heroin overdose cases where the person survived.
Blake Renfrow, a father to 3 girls, was 28 years old when he died from a heroin overdose.
"He was the most loving, sweet kid. he had a smile that would light up the room," said Debra Easter, Renfrow's mother, "August 21st. He OD-ed and was found in our garage by my husband."
Easter said Blake moved to heroin after being on narcotics for a major surgery.
"He hated it. He would tell me, 'I hate this. I don't want to be this person. And he tried. He tried so hard to fight it, and at at the end lost the battle,'" remembered Easter.
She said Blake had been clean for a few months before relapsing.
"We've heard whoever he was with that night just dropped him off at the house and left him...could've knocked on our door, could've called 911. They just dropped him off and left him to die," said Easter.
Farruggia knows her daughter Kelsie could have met the same end. Kelsie also struggled with heroin.
"Today my daughter celebrates 90 days clean sober," Farruggia said through tears.
Farruggia's organization "Hearts for Hope and Healing" is raising money to bring billboards to raise awareness about drug overdoses to Memphis.
The signs by Tennessee Overdose Prevention were designed to remind people state law protects you from calling 911 if someone has overdosed. They also urge people to carry Naloxone, an antidote that can reverse an overdose.
Easter fully supports Farruggia's mission and knows her son would too.
"Blake lost 9 buddies before he passed away, and it never got any easier for him. Every time it happened it broke him, and I know that he would want us to do everything we could to help others from losing the battle," said Easter, "If we can help one family one kid not go through this it would be worth it."
The billboards would cost between $1,100 - $1,300 each and would share pictures of people in the Mid-South who died from heroin.