Annual Overdose Awareness Candlelight Vigil slated for Aug. 31 (Sponsored Content)

(Photo via the Healing Hearts Collaborative Facebook page).

The annual Cortland County’s Overdose Awareness Candlelight Vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 31 at Courthouse Park in the City of Cortland, the same day as International Overdose Awareness Day.

An event run by Healing Hearts Collaborative, which is a narcan distribution program through Central New York, is being held for the second-straight year.

“This event is about awareness, a safe and stigma-free place for people to grieve, talk about their loved ones and honor their loved ones. It’s also a place for people to share their stories,” said Dean O’Gorman, the program director for Healing Hearts Collaborative and sole organizer of the candlelight vigil.

O’Gorman’s son, Spencer O’Gorman, died of an overdose in 2017. Since then, O’Gorman has gotten himself involved in the education of overdose and overdose awareness.

“I dug to figure out how I missed it and what happened. Through that, I found a lot of different things going on that we don’t have everything we need for our community,” he said.

According to O’Gorman, over 250 people died from an overdose around this time in the United States last year. By the time this year, close to 300 people have passed away from an overdose in the country, he added.

O’Gorman noted 295 signs will be on display at the event. Each sign will say “Supporting the fighters, admiring the survivors and always honoring the taken.”

The event will also have a few speakers, including a parent who will share their story based on a loved one they’ve lost due to an overdose, and a politician to be determined.

Timothy A. Bennett, Owner & Publisher of The Cortland Voice (left), and Dean O'Gorman, program director for Healing Hearts Collaborative (right). (Photo Source: Kevin L. Smith of The Cortland Voice).

The Cortland Voice is proud to be one of the new and main sponsors of the event.

The event is also sponsored by Healing Cortland, Prevention Network, Southern Tier AIDS program and Central Region Addiction Resource Center.

For more information, go to the Healing Hearts Collaborative Facebook page.