Because her son Alan died of a drug overdose three years ago, Wendy McCready will hold a fund raising event in Pekin to buy a house.
She and her family won’t live there. Its rooms will be open to those who need a safe, sober setting after their treatment at in-house drug addiction therapy clinics.
The sober living house for addicts’ aftercare would be the first of its kind in Tazewell County and modeled after one in Peoria and others in Springfield, McCready said.
The name she’s chosen for it – Fight the Fight for Recovery Living, Alan’s House – would also stand as a monument to the progress of the grassroots effort McCready has led to help people, snared by drug addiction, avoid her 24-year-old son’s fate.
“There’s no stopping me,” said McCready, 51, a former Pekin resident now of East Peoria. “We’re going to keep on going.”
Fight the Fight, the organization McCready formed with her family and other supporters, will host its first Hope Fest from noon to 8 p.m. April 8, at the Avanti’s Dome.
“We’re hoping to fill the place” with adults and children to raise funds for a down payment on the sober living home, she said.
The event will be the third for Fight the Fight since McCready formed it in 2016. It has staged Addiction Awareness Walks in each of the past two Augusts at Mineral Springs Park and plans a third this summer.
McCready said several hundred people attended each event, which raised funds for the JOLT Foundation of Peoria. Another grassroots effort begun by Tamara Olt, the mother of a young man who succumbed to drugs, JOLT used the funds to purchase and distribute naloxone, the anti-opioid remedy that quickly reverses overdose symptoms.
Next month’s Hope Fest is focused on making Alan’s House a reality.
“I’ve learned that sober living houses are a crucial element in completing a (drug) treatment program,” McCready wrote in an online funding request for the project. “It gives them time to get stronger and have more clean time, ... which is proven to give addicts a better success rate of staying sober and not relapsing.”
“We’re starting to look at homes in Pekin, Creve Coeur and East Peoria,” McCready said.
Her group is supported in its plans by the Gateway Foundation of Springfield, an in-house treatment center that will donate beds and other furniture for the planned 10-resident home.
Hope Fest will feature five local bands, an Avanti’s spaghetti dinner, a live and silent auction, and children’s attractions including bounce houses, face painting and hair braiding. The Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, based at UnityPoint Health-Proctor Hospital in Peoria, is co-sponsoring the event, McCready said.
Tickets purchased in advance are $20 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under, and $50 for a family pack of four or more adults and kids. Those categories will be $25, $10 and $60, respectively, at the door.
They can be purchased at the Dome or online at www.avantisdome.com.