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Letter from the Organizer
Why Opioid Addiction?
Why Victoria’s Voice?
Why Mrs. America?
Hi, my name is Nicole Cook and I was Mrs. Illinois-America 2018 and won the title of Mrs. America 2019! I’m a wife, a mother, an active community member, and I have been affected by the opioid epidemic. In February of 2018, I tragically lost a family member to a heroin overdose. He was caucasian, 39 years old, an electrical engineer with a steady, well paying job, a homeowner, and he left behind 3 children ages 18, 13, and 11.
This may come as a shock to you, as it was definitely a shock to me. This was not what I thought of when someone mentioned the Opioid Epidemic or Heroin – the image or demographics I had in my mind were completely different. I never thought it would happen to me. Unfortunately, however, this isn’t very uncommon as “Opioids [are] behind 1 in 5 deaths of young U.S. Adults” today.
Something needs to be done. It may seem like the solutions are simple to those who have never dealt with any type of addiction; Why can’t they just stop? It’s their own fault. Etc. But, The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as an enduring condition that triggers the user to compulsively search out and use substances and is marked by observable and predictable changes in the brain. This is the basis for the theory that addiction is a disease.
So, the family of Victoria Siegel (behind the name of “Victoria’s Voice”) founded the Victoria Siegel Foundation to make a difference after they tragically lost their daughter to a heroin overdose at the age of 19 (www.victoriasiegelfoundation.org). They are fighting to educate people on how to prevent addiction, change legislation to ensure better treatment and recovery, and reduce the stigma and incorrect stereotypes surrounding this epidemic so we can truly elicit change.
As Mrs. America, I am involved with various charities and causes, but seeing my nieces and nephew bury their father at such young ages.... I knew I had to help. Help them in their healing, understanding, and recovery, and help others so they wouldn’t have to suffer this same fate. So, I’ve dedicated my year of service to this cause and I need YOUR HELP to raise funds to help the 501c3 “Victoria’s Voice” continue to do their good work nationally, and also raise funds for the Lighthouse Foundation that treats people suffering from addiction RIGHT HERE in our communities where this issue has already arrived but can be stopped. Come to the Tiara Trot, donate to support this cause, and help start a positive ripple effect of hope and change.
Thank you for your support,
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