Our Game changer of the Month is Marissa Lopes, former Herren Project Ambassador, and Team Herren Project teammate. This March, she will be running the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon. Marissa started her journey of raising awareness for substance abuse disorder because of her childhood. Sharing her story and passion to keep families together.
Today she has a new reason to share her story due to losing her nephew Jeremy this past September.
In Marissa’s Words
“Today, a new story sparks my anger, my sadness, and my desperate plea for people to show compassion and understanding of a disease that plagues thousands and to tell the world that the stigma attached to addiction is not true. On September 22, 2022, I lost my nephew Jeremy to an accidental drug overdose. My family’s heart died that day. Jeremy’s addiction was a mental illness, and he could not choose a sober path. He suffered daily for many years with his demons. He loved his family and his children with all his heart. He had a beautiful soul. He would put a smile on any kid’s face that was in the same room as him. He had an infectious laugh and a heart as big as the ocean, but his body and his mind outweighed his heart every time he picked up a drug. He tried harder than anyone I know to get help and stay sober. He did not want to live the life he was living. He wanted more than anything to be happy and healthy. His story will be known, our story will be heard, and there will be a change in the hearts who those who will listen. I’m going to run this race for my nephew Jeremy and my sister Mary McBay Correia.”
This past weekend Marissa teamed up with her dear friend and wife of Herren Project Ambassador Glen Harrington, Danielle. Danielle hosted an hour-long charity workout class at The Body Shop Gymnasium in Peabody, MA, to help Marissa raise funds for her NYC Half race as well as awareness for the disease of addiction. Herren team members, Herren alums, and friends were there to work out while also remembering and honoring loved ones lost. They supported, encouraged, and even celebrated a newly sober member of the team. All proceeds went to Marissa’s run for the Herren Project in honor of Jeremy. It was a weekend full of love, laughter, and support.
“I’m forever grateful for the deep and meaningful friendships I have with my Herren Family. The support for both my family and I is something I will cherish for a lifetime.” Marissa Lopes
Breaking the Stigma
The stigma of the stereotype is that addicts are deviants, don’t engage in society and are without love and kindness in their lives, and live without morals. This could not be further from the truth. Opioid overdose is now the leading cause of PREVENTABLE death in the United States. After reading this, Marissa hopes you consider empathizing with the countless number of people who are plagued with addiction, to look in their eyes and know that addiction is a disease, not a choice, and lend a hand rather than push them further down the rabbit hole. It just might help save one life from being ended and another family from experiencing the despair her family has. Marissa and her family lost an amazing person. She hopes this helps one life from being ended and another family from experiencing the despair she has.
If you or a loved one are struggling, there is help. Herren Project provides free resources and support for individuals and families impacted by addiction with the goal of helping others live healthy, fulfilling lives.