LITTLE ROCK, Ark — (KTHV) – Sadly, so many of us have lost someone we love to a drug overdose or know someone who has.
Ahead of International Overdose Awareness Day, Arkansans will come together to show support for one another while also celebrating those who have overcome their addiction.
Kim Rankin lost her 27-year-old son Danny to an accidental overdose in 2012. He passed away 10 days after he was found unresponsive on the floor of his home.
“There were moments that we thought he was going to come back, but it became very clear that that was not the case,” Rankin said.
Danny was a talented football player who went onto to college and was working on his PHD in Psychology. He was known for helping the underdog and giving back, without seeking recognition. After her son's death, Rankin and her family made it their mission to share Danny's story and give back just as their son did when he was alive.
“Danny is still so present and doing some amazing work and we are being pushed and guided to follow through and do his work here,” Rankin said.
On Friday, on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol, Rankin will share Danny's story ahead of International Overdose Awareness Day. The day, which falls on Aug. 31, is meant to honor loved ones who have passed away while also supporting those still battling addiction.
For the third year, Arkansans will gather to recognize the day. There will be guest speakers, a photo display where you can share you loved ones photo and resource booths. Friends and family are encouraged to bring a photo of their loved ones to display.
“It really is a time for people to come and find comfort and affirmation in their struggle having lost a family member or close friend, but it’s also a time to come and inform and educate yourself,” said Judith Goodson with Bradford Health Services.
Rankin said while it isn't easy to revisit the pain of losing her son, she knows Danny's story will be a gift to someone who needs it most.
“We learned so much from him and through him and we were blessed with that and so it’s our responsibility to pass that on,” Rankin said.
The International Overdose Awareness Day Memorial Rally will be held on the steps of the State Capitol on Friday, Aug. 30 at 6 p.m.
For more information on the event, click here.