HOLLISTON, Mass. - A local family is raising money to build a butterfly garden to honor lives lost to drugs after losing one of their own to addiction.
Ryan Trant, of Franklin, died of a fentanyl overdose in Sept. 2017 at just 24-years-old. He'd been released from a detox stay just two days before.
Today, his family is making sure they can have a place to honor and remember him by, along with so many others who have lost their battles with addiction.
Ryan's mother says he didn't want to be an addict, that he fought against it as much as he could.
"Ryan said to me, 'I don't want to die, I don't want to overdose, Mom. It's so scary,'" said Victoria Almeida, Ryan's mother. "His soul was good, he just wasn’t strong enough to get over this addiction."
Oh Thursday, Ryan's family and friends gathered at the TGI Friday's in Milford to raffle off prizes and collect donations to build a butterfly garden of remembrance at the Our Lady of Fatima shrine in Holliston, a place of serenity they say Ryan loved.
"That’s important for me to have somewhere to bring Tristan on Father’s Day, on his birthday," said Mikaela DeMaria, Ryan's girlfriend. "He knows daddy’s up in the sky, and we tell him all the time how much he looks like him."
Ryan left behind his parents, his twin brother TJ, his girlfriend Mikaela and their son, Tristan, who turns three in November.
"It’s definitely torn our family apart," said Almeida. "Even before Ryan passed away. You know, the lies, the trying to keep him safe, the finding him overdosed, multiple occasions taking him to the hospital, trying to get him clean and sober. It’s difficult."
"He was my other half, you know., a great guy, would do anything for anybody," said TJ Trant.
While his family says it hasn't been easy, Ryan's mother is committed to raising awareness about addiction and helping eliminate the stigma.
"It’s very important that we talk about it, that we talk about it loud and we make sure that people are listening because the numbers are staggering," said Almeida.
Before their event on Thursday night, they had raised about half of the money needed - about $2,500 to $3,000 to start.
Family and friends are hoping to break ground on Sept 13, the first anniversary of Ryan's death.
If you would like to donate to the butterfly garden, you can find instructions here. For more information on the project, you can visit their Facebook page here or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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