CHICAGO — With opioid deaths spiking nationwide, a handful of people from Chicago are on a mission to change the trajectory through a national organization called Shatterproof.
For Amy Voss, photos are all she has left of her son Jared, who died at age 28 just one day before his father's birthday.
"He died at 28," Voss said quietly. "Just one day before my husband's birthday."
The pain of losing her son was unbearable, but the shame that it was an overdose of heroin and cocaine weighed just as heavily on her heart.
"I used to say to myself, 'I don't look like that mom'...but I do cause I look like anyone. No one is immune to this disease," Voss said.
Recently the CDC announced that Illinois emergency rooms have seen a 66 percent rise in visits due to opioid overdoses.
Shatterproof wants to take opioid addiction out of the shadows and help others to shake the stigmas associated with it. This Saturday they are holding a Rise up Against Addiction 5K run at Soldier Field.
"Thousands of people are gathering to share stories, celebrate recovery and cheer people on who are seeking recovery," Shatterproof's Jacquie Batchelder said. "It's why we are a movement because all of us who lost someone wanted to do something about it and spare others the pain that they're suffering."
Voss vowed to honor her son by helping others going through the same struggle. Partnering with Shatterproof, she holds weekly meetings for those struggling with substance abuse disorders and their loved ones.
"If I can help one person... one mom, one person that's struggling, then I feel like I honored Jared," Voss said.