Special walk held in Westwood, NJ to help those suffering from addiction and to remember those lost

WESTWOOD, NJ — Hundreds of people impacted by the tragedy of addiction came together in New Jersey on Sunday.

A special walk raised awareness for resources while remembering the lives lost, CBS2’s Elijah Westbrook reported.

Westvale Park in Westwood was packed. Nearly a thousand people from all walks of life came together for the annual A Walk to Remember: Addiction Awareness and Recovery.

Spearheading the event was Nancy Labov, founder of Alumni in Recovery, an organization comprised of teens and young adults speaking openly at schools and community events about their struggles with substance abuse.

“I just knew it was important that young people in recovery, alumni, are able to go back to the schools they’re familiar with and talk to the kids about the pathway to addiction because no one can deliver it better than those in recovery, “Labova said.

A multitude of interactive displays and stations were seen all around, aimed at educating those who want to be on the path to recovery.

“It’s important that we come together and collaborate in ways that we can help others,” Labov said.

More than 400 people who’ve lost their lives to addiction, including Jonathan Ruts, were part of a powerful display. His mother told Westbrook what this means for her.

“My son had been battling addiction for about four years,” Sherri William-Ruts said. “He’s here with me every single day … and we do this for him. We do this so that we can present to the world that the stigma needs to stop.”

And that’s what Sunday’s event was all about. Westbrook has learned the money raised from the walk will be used to support prevention and education programs for both schools and the general public.

Elijah Westbrook



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