Yesterday started like any other day. I got up, got ready, walked my dog, made a quick breakfast and headed out the door to my meeting with the Buffalo Grove Police Department to develop our addiction and overdose response plan for the community. I stopped to get a coffee on my way there bursting with excitement about this important program finally coming to fruition – more lives to be changed, more lives to be saved. I checked my phone and noticed I had a text from Jessy, the sweet sister of Mikey Santini, who had been struggling with the disease of addiction. I went to high school with Jessy, and while we were only acquaintances then, our similar sibling struggles reunited us as adults. As I checked the message, in a matter of seconds everything changed. Any happiness or joy I was feeling about the day ahead quickly dissipated as I read, “He passed away.”
Mikey was only 25 years old and a friend of Alex’s, which made him an automatic friend of mine. One didn’t have to know Mikey well to see how kind, gentle and genuine he was. One doesn’t have to know the Santini family too well to see how much they love each other, and how many mountains they would move for Mikey. I will always remember Mikey’s sweet smile and the captivating sparkle in his eye. While I only knew him a short while, he left a footprint in my heart that I will never forget. He meant so much to so many and it is unfathomable that he was taken away from each of them. Mikey never gave up and in his memory, I refuse to give up.
To Geri, Robert, Jackie and Jessy, on behalf of my family and the Live4Lali family, we send you our love and condolences for the loss of your beautiful boy. There are no words we can offer you that will take away your pain. But, we can promise you this: we will continue to fight for the end of this epidemic every single day in memory of Mikey. We will continue to share our stories and the truth about drugs/addiction/overdose with anyone who will listen, say things that need to be said, lobby for sensible laws, fight for funding and research, push for better treatment, reverse as many overdoses as possible, and help anyone impacted by this disease in any way we can. Mikey will never be forgotten. You will never be alone.
All my love,