EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) — An event called “Dance for David” was held in Phoenix Park on Saturday, raising awareness for substance abuse and mental health resources.

Christine Witherill’s son, David, died from an overdose in 2020. A loss Witherill said she struggles with daily.

“Every day it’s still a battle,” Witherill said. “I wake up every morning thinking of him, wishing that there was something more I could have done.”

Jennifer Schrader, Witherill’s niece, organized the event, aiming to honor her cousin and promote substance abuse and mental health resources in the area.

“I wanted to show people that the community is here for you, and you just have to let us reach out with you,” Schrader said. “We wanted to help you.”

Witherill said she wants to tell people they shouldn’t feel shame.

“As a mother, I have always been very open about my son’s addiction from the standpoint that it’s not something to be ashamed of,” Witherill said. “You didn’t cause it, you didn’t create it, and it’s something you can’t battle alone.”

This event included resources describing signs of an overdose and instructions on how to use Narcan and fentanyl strips. The hope is to show others how to get the help they may need.A

“I know from the standpoint of a parent trying to help their child or the person who’s addicted, they need to know that there are resources out there,” Witherill said. “There are people that care about them and there’s support out there.”

Schrader said she appreciates the public showing up for an important cause.

“It’s only growing. Substance abuse and mental health problems are only growing. So many people are feeling alone,” Schrader said. “It’s awkward to meet people on the street and you can see they need help. How do you do it? Go over there and ask these people, how can I help?”

Donations from the event will be going to At the Roots LLC in Altoona, a group providing mental health and substance abuse resources for the community.

More information about substance abuse resources can be found at Eau Claire’s Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention website. Narcan and fentanyl strip resources can be found at Vivent Health.

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