HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A walk in Holyoke on Saturday raised awareness for substance abuse prevention.

Volunteer of the Jack Jonah Foundation, Courtney Caruso, said, “He lost his life in 2014 to an overdose.” Courtney Caruso is one of many that’s been touched by the opioid crisis. Losing her brother roughly 8 years ago. Caruso shared, “I just love helping people and educating them because it’s such an important thing. I and many others have lost loved ones.”

One of the ways she helps is by volunteering and participating in Jack’s Walk at Ashley Reservoir in Holyoke.
This walk is organized by the Jack Jonah Foundation. At the age of 19, Jack Jonah lost his life during an accidental overdose. After his passing, his father said he knew Jack wanted him to help others.

Kirk Jonah, Jack’s dad and President of Jack Jonah Foundation, said, “I was not sleeping well and a friend of mine said that’s Jack and God trying to speak to you. And Jack said to me, ‘I made a mistake, but remove your anger. I’ll take your anger away from you. You need to go out and save lives.”

Thousands die every year from opioid overdoses. Today’s walk is not only to honor those who have lost their lives but those who have survived.

Kirk Jonah added, “What we look to accomplish; One is honor those who have passed and their loved ones. Educate our young adults and our communities regarding the opioid crisis. And support. Support those who are fighting the fight of addiction every day.”

Friends of the family and supporters of the cause are traveling across New England to help raise awareness. Allan MacDonald from Nashua, New Hampshire, said, “Very concerned about fentanyl and overdoes. We’ve used Jack as an example for our kids and our family and friends. We just don’t want it to continue.” A community coming together, to honor, educate, support; To save lives.