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On the Surface It All Seems So Normal.
Let me introduce you to my son. Flip through the pictures in our family's photo album.


At one month old, Ian was such a beautiful baby.
He was perfect. I felt so blessed.
Candace was six when her little brother was born.
She loved him right away.
Five-year-old Ian couldn't wait to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas. Having big sister Candace right there with him made it even more special.

It was a beautiful summer day and Ian's smile was as bright as the sunshine.

First Communion at St. Thomas the Apostle church. Ian was seven.

Thirteen years later, I would do the first Courage To Speak presentation to the community from this church at the invitation of Father Murphy.



Leaving for church, Ian was so pleased
with how he looked in his new suit.

At ages 9-12, Ian was the best black belt in his karate class.

His instructor Mingo, and Ginger would eventually see to it that the dealer who sold Ian heroin would be arrested. He was given the choice by the judge to serve jail time or go into a rehabilitation center. The dealer chose rehab so Ginger ended up putting her son's dealer in rehab.



Captain of the soccer team at age nine.

Cuddling on the couch with Mom, Dad, Candace and our dog Sunny. Ian was ten.

That final night, Sunny knew something was wrong with Ian. He was very arthritic by then, but he managed to climb up two flights of stairs to try and wake me up. I had been so relieved to have Ian tell me he wanted to go to the doctor the next morning, that I fell into a deep sleep. It was the first good night's sleep I'd had in six months. Never did I think my baby would try it just one more time.



Ian is eleven at a karate competition at Madison Square Garden and in this picture he's just won second place in the fourteen-year-old divison, over a kid almost twice his size.

Senior Prom with his dear friend Val.

She would later sing Silent Lucidity at Ian's funeral. I listen to that before each presentation. It helps me compose myself.



Graduating from Norwalk High School, Ian had a huge smile for his mentor Mr. Amos who was handing him the diploma.

 

This is a photo of Ian four weeks before he died while he was working on his recovery.


Addiction is Not Always Easy to Recognize.

At a "Toga Party." Ian is in the back right
with his friends Kate and Justin.

With his dear friend Jason.

This was at Cranbury Park where they used to go to smoke pot and where Ian got picked up by the police his freshman year in high school.

Ian with some high school buddies. In retrospect I see how sad he was.

This was the Christmas of Ian's first year at college. He was already using cocaine. I didn't find out until after he died.

"Mom, I'm always going to have a beer with my friends," Ian told me that last summer. "If you do, you'll go back to the drugs," I said, but he couldn't see that. He really did stay clean that summer. For a while, he was the Ian I used to know. For three months, I had my son back.

He hung around with Glenn that last summer. With clean kids, non-users. He really was trying so hard, but the drugs were stronger than he was.

Sitting with Amy, the summer before he left for college. Amy was his last girlfriend. She was there that final night, but he fooled her, too. He must have snorted the heroin after she left.

Jason took this picture. It was everybody's favorite shot. All of Ian's friends have it hanging in their rooms.

This was taken at a friend's house two days before he died.

 

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