MONTICELLO - A Monticello mom who lost her daughter to an overdose is working to educate her community. Connie Gyorr lost her 20-year-old daughter, Marisa, in May of 2016 to an overdose of fentanyl mixed with cocaine.
"It's apparently everywhere and it's becoming an epidemic," says Gyorr. "I never thought this would happen to my family. I never thought any of my kids would turn to street drugs. It can spiral down very fast."
Her daughter was a straight "A" student. When she began high school, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and depression. Her depression worsening, Marisa turned to drugs.
Now Gyorr is working with the Piatt County Sheriff's Office and local businesses, raising money to bring speaker Tim Ryan from A Man in Recovery Foundation to talk to both students and adults.
"I didn't know what to do. I didn't know who to turn to or what actions to take," recalls Gyorr. "Finding Tim is an alternative. It's someplace you can turn to if you're struggling with addiction."
"I thought it was a great idea," says Piatt County Coroner, Dave Hunt. "We've dealt with a few addiction problems in this county. I hope they listen and understand that if they're ever in a situation where they need assistance to get off drugs, that they will take advantage of this and that they know where to turn to. They can turn to the police."
So far the Monticello community has raised $10,000. It costs $5,000 to bring Tim Ryan to speak to Piatt County schools and community members. The money goes to A Man in Recovery Foundation to help those struggling with addiction get the help they need.
"He's helped so many people and I feel like he's going to help our community," says Gyorr. "It's a disease, just like any other disease. We can't look down on people who are struggling."
The additional $5,000 is going to a charity in Marisa's memory. The charity is designed to educate people in Central Illinois suffering from addiction, as well as help those who need help finding transportation to get treatment for recovery.
Tim Ryan will be in Piatt County Wednesday, March 29 and Thursday, March 30.
He will be presenting at Monticello High School and Middle School from 8:15 a.m. - 11 a.m. on March 29.
A free presentation will be offered from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. at the Community Center for police, public works, first responders. Community members are encouraged to attend.
At 7 p.m. on March 29, Ryan will be speaking to parents and community members in the Bement High School gymnasium.
Ryan will be speaking to Cerro Gordo Junior High and High school students, Arthur, Lovington, Atwood, and Hammond students, and Bement middle and high school students during the morning of March 30.
At 7 p.m. on March 30, Ryan will be speaking to parents and community members in the Monticello High School auditorium. Child care is provided.
The presentations are free and open to the public.
For more information about A Man In Recovery Foundation, visit the website http://www.amirf.org/.
A link to Marisa's Purpose Go Fund me can be found here.