CLEVELAND - Sitting in the kitchen at their home in Bay Village, going through their photo album, Bill Ayars reminisces about his daughter.
“I think the biggest thing about Jennifer, was her laugh,” Mr. Ayars said.
But in high school Jennifer Ayars’ life began to spiral.
“It started before I even wanted to admit it,” said Ayars.
After several attempts at sobriety, her addiction took over, and last year, at age 28, she passed away from a mixture of cocaine and fentanyl.
“You know I get angry and now, I’ve learned so much trying to separate the behavior from the addiction,” her dad said, holding back tears.
Her story isn’t uncommon, especially this time of year.
Recover experts say the holidays aren’t always the happiest times and spell trouble for people struggling with addiction.
Many factors can play a role in family stress, holiday parties-where people indulge in things like drinking, and loneliness.
But Bill Ayars and Susan Tarry are doing their part to help by creating a website to connect other families to the help they need—help, the couple didn't know about initially when they were going through it.
“It was difficult to know what all the options were out there,” Mr. Ayars said. “We didn’t spend a lot of time giving it a lot of thought, we just sent this would have helped us, and we believe it would help others.”
How does it work? People can go to EmeraldJennyfoundation.com and put in their loved one's location and what they’re addicted to. Then nearby resources will pop up where they can go for help.
The whole idea is to do a lot of the upfront work for families.