Shattering the stigma of drug addiction and remembering the lives lost – that's the mission behind the 'Run Drugs Out of Town' annual fundraiser in Fraser.
"At first I came out to support a friend who lost their daughter," said Connie Vallee. "And then it happened to us."
This is Connie's fourth year at the 'Run Drugs Out of Town' Run and Walk. She lost her son to drug addiction a year and a half ago.
"It's a horrible thing to lose a child to drug addiction. But we want to help other people through our sadness and to keep his memory alive," Connie said.
She was among thousands of people at Fraser High School Saturday taking part in the event put on by FAN – or Families Against Narcotics. It's a community-based program in Macomb County for those who are seeking recovery, those in recovery and for families affected by addiction.
Terri Braden lost her son, Adam, to a heroin overdose in 2017. She is also a FAN volunteer.
"What got me through the loss of my son is that I'm not doing it alone," Terri told 7 Action News. "The support is immeasurable."
Many people wore shirts in honor of loved ones lost to drug addiction.
According to FAN, the event first started 11 years ago with 100 participants. This year, there were almost 3 thousand.
"Awareness is building, but what we need are moms and dads to be educated," said Linda Davis, Executive Director of FAN. "Kids are so susceptible, don't wait for problems. Be educated before that ever happens."
The organization wants everyone to know: There is support.
"Please, whether you're a family member or addict, reach out. Don't try to handle it yourself. You don't have to be alone."
Click here for more information about Families Against Narcotics and their support resources.