Vigil held in Media for Overdose Awareness Day draws dozens – Story

– A vigil held in Media for Overdose Awareness Day drew dozens Thursday night. 

“There’s nothing like losing a child,” said Rosemary Bittner. Her grief is still raw two years after her son Billy died of an overdose when he was 30 years old.

“This is me and my son. Our last dance,” Bittner showed us a picture on her shirt. She says every day without him is a struggle to continue living.

“It’s just not the same with a mommy’s boy. He would stay in and watch movies with me, we’d stay up, get candy, pizza and he put me before his friends,” she said.

Bittner and her friend Denise Hines came out to Rose Tree Park in Media for a candlelight vigil on International Overdose Awareness Day.  They joined dozens of others who have lost loved ones to heroin or living with addiction.

“I can’t believe the multitude of people that are going through it. I’m going through it with my own daughter right now. She’s 30 years old also and we’re fighting the addiction of heroin,” said Hines.

 During the vigil several people spoke about how addiction has affected their lives.

“I have a son who is 26. Three years I’ve lived a nightmare,” said a mother standing before the crowd.  They released balloons and lit candles.  Amber Leonardo was there for friends and family who lost the fight including her brother Dillan who overdosed two months ago. It was two days after he’d gotten out of a treatment facility. Dillan was 24-years old and had battled addiction for 6 six years.

“He was found on the EL Frankford Line. The conductor had found him.  He was in ICU. He had open brain surgery but because somebody had left him by himself he had no oxygen for 25 minutes at least so he was gone,” said Leonardo. She’s become somewhat of an advocate and raises awareness for others trying to hold on.

“And let people know it’s real and that these addicts are not alone. People love them. They’re not just somebody in the dust,” said Leonardo.



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