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Traveling mural to raise awareness for substance abuse

Published: Sep. 18, 2021 at 11:16 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - More than 400 pictures and names lined City Hall Park Saturday in memory of those who’ve lost their lives to addiction.

Today I Matter is a traveling memorial aimed at spreading awareness about substance use. Many people there have lost loved ones, or know someone who died from addiction.

John Lally is the executive director for Today I Matter. He says after losing his son, the goal is to shed light on a growing issue.

“The numbers are getting worse and people we’re losing to addiction. When you put a face to that number, it’s a whole new ball game. You go home realizing this is something. This is important, we’re losing good people, and we’ve got to do something about it,“ Lally said.

Kimberly Blake and Cheryl Juaire were also in attendance. Both have lost children to this issue.

“This event is to show Vermont that these lives matter. Pulling up to this park and seeing all of these photos was just heart-wrenching because there is a problem in this world, and it needs to be worked on. It needs to be fixed. Behind me are two of my children that I lost,” Juaire said.

“We’re hoping to bring awareness, decrease the stigma around substance use and mental health issues, and realize that our children died a preventable death,” Blake said.

The project has been on the move throughout New England and displays individuals from over 34 states as far away as Florida, Minnesota, and California.

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