I remember when we spoke one day over 2 years ago maybe you don't remember me. That is okay! So many mother's with tears. I remember when my daughter attended your sons funeral and how sad she was, then just few month's later my daughter had to attend her brother's funeral.
I am sorry for your loss. I am grateful for all you have done to speak out about this horrific tragedy.
Gone to soon, they are all gone to soon!
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Staring up at the new billboard she had installed on Milwaukee Avenue in Wheeling, Chrystal Beinlich starts to cry.
"If this doesn't get their attention, I don't know what will," the Lincolnshire mother says, as she wipes a tear off her cheek and a friend wraps an arm around her shoulder. "If we have to be in people's faces, we will."
The billboard, which went up Monday, urges parents to talk to their children about heroin and offers free drug-testing kits at nickbeinlich.com. It's Beinlich's latest effort to educate parents about heroin's growing presence in the suburbs, which has been her mission since her 18-year-old son, Nick, died of an overdose in 2007.
Getting parents' attention has been difficult and frustrating, she said, because of a prevalent not-my-kid mindset.
Parents took every precaution to protect their children from H1N1 swine flu, which killed 76 people statewide this year. Yet, heroin killed more than 100 people in the suburbs alone in 2009 and Beinlich said it seems as if hardly anyone blinked. Drug educational forums put on by several suburban high schools and police departments drew only a few dozen people each.
"There's blood running in the streets, but no one's paying attention. They just walk over it like it's a puddle," said Lea Minalga, a Geneva mom whose son is a recovering heroin addict. She now runs Hearts of Hope, a group that helps families deal with drug addiction. "I (tell parents), 'Do you understand that unless you're prepared, this could happen to you?' They think it can't happen to them, so they tune out."
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