Come As You Are (CAYA) hosts their annual RUN FOR YOUR LIFE 5K
The Fauquier Times ran a piece highlighting some of the reasons why this 5K is so important. The race raises awareness to the lives we’ve lost to our addiction epidemic, and shares that hope and help are available. Both my Joe and his friend Isaac were remembered and we are grateful their stories can be used to help others.
Come out to the race Saturday September 21st and help us Run For Their Lives!
Read the remembrances and more about the 5K: Running For Their Lives
Run for Joe
8/8/2019 Joe Fleming was the life of the party. This tender-hearted young man, whose 25th birthday would be in three days on August 11, used his wit and humor as a mask to cover underlying depression.
His humor was also a source of frustration for his three brothers, “Joe would always make me laugh about whatever it was that he did wrong and it got him out of a lot of trouble,” recalls his mother Dee.
The outdoorsman had a healthy relationship with nature. Joe was a hunter but also cared deeply for wounded animals. “Joe had a deep respect for nature. He would hunt for deer meat, but if he found a wounded animal, he felt compelled to care for it and nurse it back to health,” Dee explains of the bunnies, birds and dogs that Joe would come home with.
While he didn’t fit the image that most people have of a Christian with his beard and camouflage, Joe lived the life of a Christian and was always looking out for his fellow man. “Joe would befriend anyone who appeared to be lonely and help those in need however he could,” says Dee.
Home-schooled through high school, Joe was involved with sports and loved the routine and schedule of football and rugby. He felt lost and overwhelmed when the regimented schedule ended after high school and he looked to his future that was yet unwritten. He worked in a warehouse and used his time off to work part time at Buffalo Wild Wings.
While still in high school, Joe suffered football injuries that were managed with opioids. These prescription drugs introduced him to the feeling of not feeling. After he recovered from his injuries, he began to drink heavily and smoke pot to cope with his anxiety and depression. Nearly a year after Joe moved out of his home, he overdosed on a combination of cocaine and fentanyl; just 84 hours after his best friend died from an overdose. “I stood at his friend’s viewing to give my condolences while my son’s body lay on the other side of the wall,” recalls Dee of the surreal moment.
Since Joe’s death, his family has become outspoken advocates of eliminating the stigma of addiction disorders and implore families to have open conversations with their children about healthy coping skills for depression and anxiety.
“Even if I knew the outcome, I would still choose to be Joe’s mother,” says Dee of the loss of her entertaining son.
What are coping skills?
We often talk about making sure youth have coping skills for anxiety and depression. But what are some examples of those coping skills? The following list was complied with input from members of the community and is not intended to replace professional advice. If you or someone you know is overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety and/or depression, please seek professional help.