Please Listen

Becky Savage is a wife, mother, and nurse. Two of her sons died as a result of prescription opioid misuse in 2015. Since then, Becky has traveled extensively to educate teens, families, and communities about opioid and prescription drug safety. Recently, Mrs. Savage came to speak at Marian High School, and I had the honor of introducing her.

Consider this scenario: You’re dashing into a 7-Eleven or convenience store to grab a donut on the way to school, a pack of gum, or a Coke. As you check out, you notice a plastic container next to the register with a slot on the top and some change in the bottom, maybe a couple bucks or even a fiver.

“Please give,” the sign says, “to help find a cure for…,” say, muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis. Perhaps an exotic cancer like leukemia or lymphoma – the kinds of diseases you hear about happening to other people.

Sometimes there’s a photo of somebody, usually in the prime of life, and a name – the name of a loved one struck down by this exotic disease, this unforeseen illness, this bolt out of the blue.

Most the time I’ll drop my change in the container – to be honest, not always – but it didn’t always occur to me that the folks who put those containers there were just like me. Those “other people” affected by debilitating and deadly diseases were just like me. I, or someone I love, could easily become those “other people” in a heartbeat, in a flash.

Your speaker today, Mrs. Savage, is a nurse like me. In fact, for a couple years, Becky and I were colleagues at Bethel College where we taught nursing together. Nurses, along with other healthcare workers, know very well that we’re all those other people. Nobody ever anticipates the medical problems that happen to them. Sure, we can do things to lower our risks, but when those diseases and illnesses appear, they’re always a shock. There’s no way to prepare for when we become those other people.

What Mrs. Savage is going to share with you today is like that. Her unspeakable tragedy is one she never imagined would’ve come near her family or her life. But it did. It didn’t happen to other people. It happened to her.

Please listen. Mrs. Savage and her family are not other people. They are you. They are you. And, unlike some of those diseases I mentioned earlier, you can prevent this happening to you or your friends. You can make a difference.

For more information about Becky’s work and how you can help, visit her 525 Foundation website here

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