My name is Brenda Ryan. I lost my daughter Sheena Moore on 6/9/16 to a fentanyl overdose here in Akron, Ohio. Akron is being hit with this epidemic and a month after my daughter’s death, carfentanyl hit Akron, Ohio, the first place in the nation.
It was Sheena’s first and only overdose. She was thirty one years old and left behind a five year old son. When Sheena died, she was seven years free of heroin. During those 7 years, she was very open about addiction and how it felt to be an addict and how it was always calling her name in times of trouble. Sheena hated heroin, but heroin loved her.
After her death I felt it was important to be open about how she died to help break the stigma of these deaths. I was not able to properly mourn her death because I was like so many other parents of addicts that lost their lives, having to deal with getting custody of her son and to find the funds to give my daughter a proper burial.
Her death has affected my marriage, my faith and has changed me forever. I started a foundation called Keys to Serenity, helping grieving families find the resources they need for burial, navigating the judicial system, etc. I have now started to help the silent victims, the children affected by this epidemic. I am helping them by teaming them up with other children that have had addiction affect their life.
I also am starting a grandparents raising grandchildren support group. I have helped get Senate Bill 1 making fentanyl and carfentanyl a higher degree felony and to mandate jail sentences when a death occurs in an overdose. We recently went to the State House for the signing of that Bill. I have since worked on the board with Akron Say No To Dope, placing addicts and have a program called Key to a New Habit, to help recovering addicts get back into society .
Story by Brenda Ryan