When I first noticed them, goosebumps rippled from my neck down to my feet. Buttercups....Of course there were Buttercups. I hadn’t requested that particular flower for our second fundraising gala for 525 Foundation – the non-profit organization my husband and I created to remember our two late sons – yet, there they were, sweetly tucked into the table arrangements.
The boys used to call me that… “Buttercup.” And during Nick and Jack’s viewing nearly four years ago, I kept telling myself, ‘Suck it up, Buttercup,’ so I could continue greeting the hundreds of people who showed up to pay condolences.
Out of the darkness of losing our oldest sons, Mike and I have found hope in the shape of making a difference in the lives of others by sharing our tragedy.
We are inspired by the legacy of love we feel for our boys and inspired by parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, educators, coaches, community leaders, celebrities and kids who continue to tell our story and – as a result – save lives.
We are also inspired by our two surviving sons, Justin and Matthew, knowing we must do everything we can to make this world a safe place for them. We’re inspired by the communities we’ve touched and, in turn, the way they touch our hearts with their stories, emails and cards.
I realized a while ago… when we focus on what we can change and quit worrying about what we cannot change, change happens!
525 Foundation is putting our energy into a fight we can win and change we can bring to life. We can make a difference... YOU can make a difference!
In the past year, we created Drop 2 Stop™, a way to properly dispose of prescription drugs, partnering with Martin’s Supermarkets to launch the program at three Martin’s grocery stores. Since last August (8 months ago), Drop 2 Stop™ collected 2,000 pounds of pills. Think about how much one prescription pill weighs…and that one pill can kill someone. Wow. That’s a lot of lives potentially saved because of YOUR efforts with safe disposal!
I’m so proud to share that by the end of this year, all 18 Martin’s stores in our area will have a safe, convenient way to dispose of prescription drugs. Beacon Health System also committed to installing permanent Drop 2 Stop™ boxes at several locations in Elkhart, Marshall and St. Joseph Counties. This program is expanding to other communities soon.
This fall, we’re launching WISE-UP – a program 525 Foundation developed through parent feedback. WISE-UP is a series of one-sheet “lessons” to help parents and educators tackle issues teens struggle with on a daily basis. The goal is to encourage conversations and communication.
In the past year, 525 Foundation has shared our story face-to-face with more than 90,000 parents, students, educators, lawmakers and anyone else who will listen.
And we’re only gaining momentum.
So to see faces of our dear friends and supporters – including Tammy and Terry Bradshaw, Mo and Jim Dorgan, Brian and Paqui Kelly – in the crowd at our gala, continuing to stand by our cause so loyally, we are humbled and encouraged.
To see local and national businesses stepping up to sponsor and help with our work, we are energized and grateful.
To see 32 students and a handful of chaperones from eight local high schools joining us at the gala to learn and take our message back to their peers, we are excited and honored.
To see continued love and support so many of you show our family and our mission, we are simply blown away.
Oh, and the Buttercups.
To see a sign of our sons appearing at the most unexpected but perfect time reminds us to keep pushing for change and to continue telling their story. Of course there were Buttercups.
Becky Savage’s two teenage sons – Nick and Jack – accidentally overdosed on a deadly cocktail of alcohol and prescription drugs on the same night in June 2015. Becky and her husband Mike turned their unimaginable grief into a powerful message: educating students, parents, lawmakers and anyone else who will listen about the dangers of prescription drugs. The couple created 525 Foundation (the boys’ hockey numbers were 5 and 25) with a goal of preventing another family from experiencing the pain the Savage family still struggles with every day. To date, Becky has bravely shared her story with more than 60,000 high school students from Indiana to Texas to Oregon and presented at conferences across the country. She’s spoken to members of a United States Senate opioid crisis committee, serves as an ambassador for the Walgreens #ItEndsWithUs campaign and participated in countless interviews for podcasts and news media.