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Vigil for heroin addicts Monday

Jessica Cuffman • Sep 30, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Battling a 14-year drug addiction, Weaver — who had young children and worked at the Lorain County Regional Airport— died from a heroin overdose this past October.    


“Losing a child is something I would not wish on my worst enemy,” said Weaver’s mother, Melva Sherwood. “It was like my heart was being ripped out of me day in and day out. It was constantly going through my mind what I could have done differently. I would have died in his place, and I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

After grieving for weeks, Sherwood decided to cope with her pain by sharing her feelings with others suffering similar tragedies.

She browsed the Internet and eventually found a cyber group, The Addict’s Mom, a national organization dedicated to helping anybody, including mothers of addicts.

The organization allows those suffering to privately post and write about their experiences. They’ll then receive responses, suggestions and support for moving forward.

“I needed some sort of therapy,” said Sherwood, who still experiences posttraumatic stress symptoms. “If I have any issues, if I am angry, if I’m emotional or if I need to spout out, I can go to this site, say whatever and there is immediate help for me.”

Many other Americans share Sherwood’s struggles.

About 27,000 unintentional drug overdose deaths occurred in 2007, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sherwood, of Vermilion, never realized so many parents lost a child from an addiction.

But she wants to make more people, especially local community members, aware of the nonprofit organization specializing in supporting addicts.

Sherwood owns the Vermilion-based Adult Comfort Care, providing in-home assisted living services. She organized acandlelight vigil to honor those who have died and help those still living with an addiction.

The vigil is set for 7 p.m. Monday at Victory Park, located at Main and Ohio streets.

Want to go?

• WHAT: The Addict’s Mom presents Lights of Hope. It’s an event raising awareness to community members about addiction issues, including drugs. All are welcome to the candlelight vigil. Support and information for addicts will be made available.

• WHERE: Victory Park, at Main and Ohio streets, Vermilion. 

• WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday

• MORE: Anyone attending will be asked to light three candles, one for: An addict who is currently living. • An addict in recovery. •An addict who died.

“My goal is to let mothers know that they are not alone and to educate the community that addiction is a disease,” Sherwood said. “There is the stigma that people who are addicts are the scum of the Earth, but that’s not true.”

Sherwood said addicts can attend to either:

• Receive support from community members.

• Obtain referrals to companies specializing in helping people conquer their inner demons.

Area residents who know someone battling an addiction can also show up to learn about how to help addicts.

“It’s important that we recognize the need for support and that we try to help everybody,” said Vermilion Mayor Eileen Bulan, who plans to attend the event.

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