Donations in Chris Spencer’s name to $5,000 for PRIDE
When Lynn Spencer’s son Chris died of an apparent heroin overdose, aged just 25, she was determined it would not be in vain.
In lieu of flowers, the devastated mother-of-two appealed for donations to a charity which helps young people stay drug-free — and, so far, more than $5,000 has been raised for PRIDE Bermuda.
Ms Spencer told
The Royal Gazette: “I didn’t have a clue [if people would donate], because of it being a drug death.
“I just didn’t know how open people would be. I was very happy to know that people are more accepting than I expected, that they realise this could happen to anybody.
“It’s not just the person on the street anymore. It’s in your house, it’s in your home, it’s in our schools and our community. Drugs and the issues surrounding them are no longer someone else’s problem.
“Chris is an example of what’s happening, not only in Bermuda, but in the world, where young, educated, intelligent people are very easily getting involved in drugs and it’s killing them.”
Ms Spencer is still in the dark about the exact cause of Chris’s death on October 27 last year, though she believes it was a heroin overdose.
Preliminary post-mortem results indicate heart failure but Ms Spencer has not received any toxicology results from police and an inquest date has yet to be set.
She is pouring her energies into preventing a repeat of what happened to her son, a former reporter at this newspaper, who had battled his addiction for years.
Last week, she and Chris’s girlfriend Sarah Delgross visited PRIDE’s first camp for young children affected in any way by addiction, which was made possible thanks to the cash raised in memory of Chris.
Seven children, aged seven to 11, took part in the programme, which PRIDE executive director Judith Burgess said was probably the first of its kind on the Island.
“We are so grateful to Ms Spencer for thinking of PRIDE,” said Ms Burgess. “We wanted to get the children to understand what addiction is about.
“It was the first opportunity that PRIDE has had to open a camp to young children under the age of 12 that may experience the effects of drugs or alcohol from a family member or someone close to them.
“It’s very brave of the parents or guardians to send their children. Bermuda is a small community.”
Ms Burgess said the camp was a big success and it is hoped that there will be more.
“Chris’s demise was able to bring about this,” she said. “I know his mother and [Sarah], they were both happy to be a part of it.
“It was the best way we thought we could give back to Chris, to do something to impact those young people.”
Ms Spencer said: “I was a part of that. I got to know them [the children] a little bit. It was very, very touching.
“Hopefully, they are going to be able to do that again and to keep an eye on the ones that were on the programme to make sure they are doing okay.”
She said she and Chris’s girlfriend were committed to working with charities and agencies on the Island to help build a better support system for drug addicts.
“This is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life, to make sure that his name is not forgotten and to hopefully help one other person, at least,” said Ms Spencer.
“Education and knowing the facts are the key. I will continue to share my experience with addiction, implement support groups and work towards a better outcome for someone else.”
Useful website: www.pridebermuda.bm.
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