Having Tony speak at our ‘Stomp Out Stigma’ event was the best decision! Leading up to the event, we knew we wanted a speaker that was engaging, powerful, & real. From our research, it seemed like Tony was all of those things. Upon arrival, I instantly knew we made the right decision! He was the perfect fit for our event. He shared his message of hope & recovery, but he did not hide the reality of his struggles from those in attendance. People off all ages walked away from his message remembering that their attitude about life matters & that they can change their life for the worse or for the better with one decision. This event was the first of its kind for us and Tony was easy going, flexible, & willing to do whatever we needed him to do.
— Lauren P. Davie Central Region Addiction Resource Center- Project Coordinator

Got an invite to head out to an unchartered area for myself, Syracuse New York. This invitation was planned during The Great New York State Fair and during Overdose Awareness Day. It's sad to me that the opioid epidemic has such a negative impact on our country that we now have a day in which we honor those who are lost to overdoses. It's not that I feel like we shouldn't be honoring those who are lost, we should. It's that we have lost so many people, which is so saddening that we are in need of a day that honors those lives who were lost battling opioid addiction and lost at the hand of overdose. I was grateful to be invited to speak on behalf of Mohawk Valley Prevention Recovery Collaborative at the fair for their Stomp Out Stigma event. 

Traveling across the country to a place like Syracuse is a whole day adventure for me coming out of the middle of California. I flew in a day early and got settled in. The good thing was that the airport and the fair were all relatively close to each other and didn't require any special transportation. I love using Lyft and Uber to get around, it's a convenience I appreciate while i'm on the go. 

MVPRC had a big setup at the fair to help bring awareness to those in the community about treatment resources and other segments that they can get in touch with to help those battling addiction. I really commend them for doing what they did, so many people in communities don't know where to turn when a loved one is facing addiction. A lot of communities stay quiet about addiction and the stigmas are so high that it seems impossible to get the help you need. 

I was scheduled to give two speeches about my lift story to open crowds at the fair. We were also doing a bike giveaway during this time to help attract some more people to each speech.   Both speeches went well, the first crowd was filled with a handful of really young kids, which meant I just toned down some of the details to my story, however the second speech was a more adult audience and I was able to tell my story as is. Thank you MVPRC in your efforts to bring me to Syracuse to be apart of your community for the day!