For most of us, it’s an unremarkable date – but for Becky Savage, Sunday, June 14, 2015 is the day her world imploded.
As the mother of four handsome, athletic boys – kid’s who grew up playing ice hockey, vacationing with their tight-knit family, and achieving Honor-role status, Savage knew all to well that her children weren’t immune to the dangers of drinking and drugging. According to Savage, “I constantly told my kids, ‘Don’t do drugs’ Don’t drink,'” – but it wasn’t enough to save their lives.
Her sons Jack and Nick both died early that Sunday morning. They died in their family home, victims of accidental overdose from a mix of alcohol and oxycodone.
Nick had just finished his freshman year at Indiana University, and his younger brother Jack had just graduated high school. Both the boys spent the previous evening partying with friends before crashing at their family home.
That fateful Sunday morning, Savage was picking up laundry in Jack’s room, assuming he had simply slept in after a late night. Reality quickly set in when she couldn’t rouse him, and found no pulse. She yelled for help as she started CPR, and screamed when a firefighter was unable to resuscitate her son.
Before the shock could even set it, Savage saw more responders rushing to her basement where Nick and his friends were. Nick wasn’t waking up.
The last thing Savage remembers about that morning was a paramedic walking up the stairs, asking for a coroner.
“I Never Talked To Them About Prescription Drugs”
While Savage, her husband Mike, and their two surviving sons (Justin and Matthew) could have simply allowed her family to become another statistic, they fought through their grief to launch the 525 Foundation, named in honor of Jack and Nick’s hockey jersey numbers.
Their mission to help prevent similar tragedies started in May, 2016, when she was asked to speak at a local town hall meeting on the dangers of drinking and drugging. She was told to expect a few dozen people; the hall was packed with over 200 attendees.
Her story hit home with many in the crowd – in 2015, the majority of overdose deaths in home County of St. Joseph involved prescription drugs like opiates – the same kind that killed her kids.
Savage, a practicing nurse, now spends her time focusing on spreading the message to other families, with a particular emphasis on reaching out to young adults. She’s helped organize ‘pill drops‘ in her community to help keep unused prescriptions out of the hands of kids and addicts, and she regularly speaks at high schools and youth groups.
525 Foundation – “Preventing Loss Through Education and Awareness”