International Overdose Awareness Day events in Kelowna

“My heart aches and my brain stumbles as I try to make sense of what happened…”

Mom’s Stop the Harm is holding a series of events today to bring awareness to the overdose crisis and encourage those who are already too familiar with it to safely honor the loved ones they have lost.

There will be information sessions, expert insights and a variety of other events throughout the day and in the evening there will be a vigil.

Among those going to the local International Overdose Awareness Day vigil is a Kelowna woman named Jill.

“My heart aches and my brain stumbles as I try to make sense of what happened to this loving, intelligent 27-year-old who had so much to offer life,” said Jill, who lost her youngest son Nick to a drug overdose March 27.

Jill said today offers a chance to feel the raw sense of what’s going on as she surrounds herself with other hurting parents, sisters, brothers and lovers. She acknowledges that it is easy to mask, to become numb, and to deny the magnitude of what is happening, but cautioned others in her position to do otherwise.

“We must be the Suffragettes of this pandemic, try to stem the tragic losses that are growing daily,” she said. “These young folk are our neighbors, teachers, soldiers, tradesmen, and a hundred other roles that society must stop stigmatizing. They are not defined by the demon drug that they succumbed to.”

Mom’s Stop the Harm hopes to illustrate that this crisis does not discriminate.

“It has taken countless lives regardless of age, race, gender or socioeconomic status. This inaugural event welcomes all members of our community and hopes to bring survivors and bereaved community members out of isolation, to grieve and battle this crisis together,” they said in a press release.

Schedule of Events:

Evangel Church – 3261 Gordon Dr 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Education and Awareness – Speakers and Community Service Provider information

Candle Light Vigil – The Sails Downtown Kelowna 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Remembrance and Honoring – Music, Candlelight Vigil & Open Mic.