MILFORD -- A Connecticut high school’s athletes are joining in on the fight against heroin.
Every year the Joseph A. Foran High School girls lacrosse teams play a game for a cause, a tradition that’s been going on for three years. This season's game is dedicated to helping prevent substance abuse against Milford’s youth.
The effort is led by two teens, Hope and Lia Burrows, who lost their sister to a heroin overdose in 2011.
“It is one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to go through in my life, I was so young but it impacted me so much,” Hope Burrows, who is a sophomore, said. “I still think about her every single day and I miss her so much and I wish I could see her again.”
Jessica Burrows died at age 25; she would have been 30 years-old this May. She was a cheerleader at Joseph A. Foran, where she graduated from in 2004, and she described as a smart, caring, giving and happy person.
“It was really hard for me especially because I was so little and I didn’t have my older sister anymore, it was traumatizing,” said Lia who was 9-years-old at the time of her sister’s death and is now a high school freshman. “I just don’t want anybody to have to suffer like I did.”
The sisters want to bring awareness to substance abuse. They said heroin does not discriminate, and they want to remove the stigma.
“It is a huge problem I feel like not a lot of people talk about it as much as it should be talked about,” Hope said. “The people that are going through addiction it's so hard for them and they need all the support they can get.”
The girls lacrosse teams at Foran are raising money throughout the rest of this week. They collected donations at their games Thursday, and also held a bake sale.
All proceeds will go to the Milford Prevention Council to help fight substance abuse in their town.
“I’ve met with way too many families in the past couple of months that have lost a loved one to heroin,” program Director Wendy Gibbons said. “We’re definitely beginning to see that it’s become a huge issue in Milford.”
Gibbons said this is the first time a group of young people have done a fundraiser for the organization.
“When I heard that these girls were going to do a fundraiser for Milford Prevention Council I was just blown away,” she said. “I’m just so proud of these brave, strong, beautiful girls.”
The teams have raised around $2,000 as of Thursday night. If you'd like to donate, click here.