Michigan woman lost son to overdose, now her mission is to save others

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Teresa Cole walks 5 miles everyday to visit Lewis Emery Park in Hillsdale to sit on her bench. It was her son, Todd’s, favorite place.

“He grew fishing up here. He’d stay out here all hours of the night. When he wasn’t even supposed to be he was out here fishing,” Teresa said.

Since he died, it’s now one of hers.

“He’s gone… but he’s still fishing,” Teresa said.

Todd died almost a year ago from a drug overdose at 35 years old.

“I think he started when he was like 14… 15 years old. So it was a life-long thing for him,” Teresa said.

Three years ago, Teresa had a heart attack. That’s when Todd decided to stop using drugs.

“He said I’m done I’m not doing it no more. And so he was clean for two years,” Teresa said.

Everything seemed to be okay until him and his girlfriend broke up, and he relapsed. She said he thought he was taking heroin, but really he was given straight fentanyl.

Teresa said the 2 people with him refused to call 911. She said after trying to find Narcan, they finally took him to the hospital where one took off running.

“Knocked on the door and told us that he was gone that he passed away,” Teresa said.

Teresa said her world stopped that day.

“I didn’t know how to deal with it. My husband said you need to bring something positive out of this,” Teresa said.

That one conversation with her husband got her moving again.

“We’re gonna do drug awareness. Overdose and drug awareness,” Teresa said.

She started Lost Faces of Fentanyl.

“It’s remembering people that we lost to overdoses… trying to spread awareness to the younger generation and parents they don’t really know what to look for,” Teresa said.

Their first event was a memorial walk last month honoring her son and others who’ve passed from drug overdoses. She said dozens of people showed up and that this is just the beginning.

“We’re hoping that we can save more lives and we’re hoping we can prevent other children from getting into drugs,” Teresa said.

Teresa said her work has helped her grieve Todd’s death. She said his memory lives in his photos, and in this bench that she visits everyday.

She knows Tod is sitting right there beside her.

“He’s probably laughing at me saying I’m crazy but he’s probably proud too,” Teresa said.

Teresa is working to get Lost Faces of Fentanyl certified as a non-profit to continue her work.

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