Cornerstone, Henry’s Fund organize 5K walk/run at Springbrook to combat addiction
By Steve Wildsmith | (email@example.com)
Every day I’m with him, I catch myself staring at my son as he plays.
He’s oblivious, of course; caught up in video games or piecing together an intricate pattern of Lego bricks, I watch his face and see the wheels turning behind those blue eyes. I see pieces sliding into place, his brain maturing and growing, connections being made and synapses being forged and the boy I’ve loved since before he was born coming into his own as an independent human being.
I watch him, and I imagine where his life’s path will lead him. I gaze into the unknown future and wonder where he’ll be 10 years, 20 years, 30 years from now. I see a thousand fleeting images of sunsets and sailboats and mountain tops and celebrations, of first kisses and first cars and first times, and my heart swells to the point of cracking.
Those are the images upon which I focus, because the other possibilities are too dark, too horrifying to contemplate.
I wonder, sometimes, how my friend Katie Granju carries on all these years after the death of her 18-year-old son, Henry. She continues to work and raise her family and blog about her life and motherhood, as she’s always done, but behind every word and every smile is the profound grief that resonates through time without end.
As a drug addict, Henry Granju met a tragic end almost three years ago. The circumstances of his death were the source of much publicity, and he spent his final days trying to recover from a savage beating and subsequent overdose that left him brain-damaged, a shell of the vibrant man-boy he’d been. His final months were desperate ones, estranged from friends and family who had witnessed his transformation from a funny, fun-loving, talented and intelligent teen to a desperate drug addict. His parents and extended family did all they could to urge him to turn back toward the light, but Henry never made it out of that darkness.
As a father and a recovering drug addict who knows that addiction resides in my son’s genes, Henry’s story is a terrifying one, because I know that no matter how much I educate, cajole, browbeat or love my son when it comes to drugs, he will eventually come of age and make his own choices. I can only pray that he makes the right ones, and that if he makes the wrong ones, resources are available to help him.
To that end, Henry’s family, shortly after his death, established Henry’s Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps provide funding for drug and alcohol treatment for young people, ages 12-20. The goals of the organization are simple: “Those of us who donate our time, talents and money to Henry’s Fund believe that those who want help for addiction should be able to get that help, regardless of income or insurance status. Henry’s Fund also works to educate teens and parents about the real dangers of drugs and to remove the stigma associated with addiction and recovery.”
Local residents here in Blount County have an opportunity to join some of Henry’s family, as well as recovering drug addicts looking to make a difference in this community, at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 4, at Springbrook Park in Alcoa. The Cornerstone Alumni Association — a group of recovering addicts associated with Cornerstone of Recovery, a drug and alcohol treatment center in Louisville — is holding the 2013 “Race for Recovery,” a 5K run/walk, to benefit Henry’s Fund.
You don’t need to be a runner to participate (a bonus for those of us who prefer to stroll, or who get tired driving 5 kilometers). You don’t need to have known Henry or his family. You don’t need to be a recovering addict. You might be just like me: Someone who recognizes that the world is filled with dark places and dark people, that teens can sometimes get lost in those places and crowds, and that something needs to be done to provide a lifeline for them to find their way back.
To register online or print an entry form, please visit http://www.cornerstoneofrecovery.com . For more information on the event, or if you can’t make it but wish to donate, visit http://www.facebook.com . You can also call Kent Stephens at 660-9463 or Chris Brewster at 684-1660, and there are still spots open for corporate sponsorship.
It’s a worthy event for a worthy cause, because addiction doesn’t discriminate. It’s an equal opportunity killer, and there need to be more chances for salvation from its clutches. Henry’s Fund helps provide that, as does Cornerstone of Recovery; together, they’re helping to push back that darkness and lead those who struggle within its shroud back toward the light.
Steve Wildsmith is a recovering addict and the Weekend editor for The Daily Times. Contact him at (firstname.lastname@example.org) or at 981-1144.