August 31, 2015

Coverage on News 10

Link to full video can be found here:

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A candlelight vigil was held in Saratoga Springs on Monday in honor of International Overdose Awareness Day.

The event was sponsored by the Recovery Advocacy in Saratoga group, or R.A.I.S. They encouraged members of the community to join them at the Spirit of Life statute in Congress Park to remember those who have lost their lives to drug addiction.

One by one people shared their stories of loved ones who were incarcerated or passed away due to addiction. Even those still struggling with addiction spoke out.

“For myself and hopes that my recovery continues to burn,” May Thomas of Schenectady said.

Thomas was addicted to cocaine.

“Being homeless, eating out of garbage cans,” she said of her addiction. ‘Going house to house. Selling your body. Getting in trouble with the law.”

Thomas has been clean for five years, but a close friend wasn’t so lucky.

“And I light this candle for Summer, the girl who I miss who died last year,” she said.

Summer died from an overdose at 31-years old eight months ago. Her mother, Kristin Hoin, is still trying to grasp the loss.

“I spoke to her the morning that she passed away,” Hoin said. “I know she’d been using spice, and we found out that there was PCP in her system.”

Hoin wants people to know the disease of addiction can strike anyone at any time.

“We lived in Guilderland, and that’s why I’m really out here to help stop the stigma because everybody does think it’s a disease that’s under the bridge,” she said. “And it’s not. It’s under out nose.”

But there is hope. For Thomas, her sobriety means a new relationship with her mother, happiness and giving back.

“Got my apartment,” she said. “I’m working, volunteering.”

Head to R.A.I.S for more information.