Our brother James suffered most of his adult life with addiction. No one more than him wanted to succeed at recovery. He died on January 2, 2016 of an overdose.
Project REACH was created in his memory to help those who suffer similarly. Our family struggled with differences between enabling and mercy. It is our hope to share the idea that addiction is about chemistry not character and help remove the shame shared by addicts and their loved ones.
Our first event, REACH at the BEACH
on July 8th, 2017, was inspired by James’ love of the beach. On that day, over 300 friends and family came together at Oakland Beach, where we raised over $8,000 for the St. Anthony’s Shelter for Recovery and Renewal and St. Vincent’s Hospital in Harrison.
Our 2nd annual REACH at the BEACH event was held on July 14th, 2018. We raised over $15,000. Proceeds were shared with St Christopher’s Inn and St. Anthony’s Shelter in memory of Andrew DiMaggio, son of Eileen and Andrew who passed away on October 14, 2017. He was 25 years old. Like James, Andrew struggled with addiction. It is our hope that his family will find peace knowing they are not alone and that Andrew will be remembered as someone who helped change the way we see addiction.
As well as being a family fun barbecue with music, volleyball, yoga, and face painting, we offered free NarCan training and families shared their stories of loss, hope and recovery. Representatives from both facilities also shared their mission with us.
Our 3rd Annual REACH at the BEACH event was held on
July 13th, 2019. We raised over $20,000. Proceeds were shared with the Walter Hoving Home in memory of Italia Palmiotto, St Christopher’s Inn in memory of Alec Lewkowicz, and St. Anthony's Shelter.
A great day was shared by guests from near and far. Over 30 families received NarCan training and the event was covered by News 12 and NBC News 4 NY.
In addition to preparing for next year’s event, we are also in the process of becoming a NYSDOH NarCan Training Program. This will allow us to help families gain access to both NarCan itself and training without fear of embarrassment or shame.
Overall, our goal is to raise awareness, educate the community, offer compassion to families whose loved one is an addict, and give hope to the addicted.