BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – More then 100 people took over Delaware Park for a 5K run in honor of Michael Israel. His father, Avi Israel said, “It’s save the Michael’s, it’s about everybody, no matter what the name is its about everybody.”
Avi Israel and Cheryl Placek both lost their sons to opioid addiction. But they say this race is for the more then 300 people in Western New York that have also died from this disease. Israel said, “Addiction is a disease, and we want people to know that.”
Cheryl Placek said, “I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t think it would help somebody. Anybody that would listen. That’s what our goal is.”
They say to fight the heroin and opiod epidemic here, education is the only way. Israel said, “We over-prescribe medication here way too much for every minute pain people get opiates.”
Colleen Babcock, Vice President of the “Save the Michael’s of the World” said, “Avi doesn’t have anything to gain. He does this to save other families from going through the same thing we have gone through as parents and really you don’t see it coming.”
Babcock’s son is also fighting addiction. She works with “Horizon” a therapy dog in training who will help those in recovery.
She said, “We are in the midst of the worst epidemic in U.S. history so we really need to change the face of addiction. We have to change things for the next generation.” Israel says this race is the first of many to come, to keep Michael and Daniel’s memory alive.
Israel said, “I think it’s very emotional. I think if our kids are looking down, they would be very proud of what we accomplished.”
For more on the race or the “Save the Michael’s of the World” organization visit their website.