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updated: 7/25/2014 7:56 AM

Drug abuse fought in name of St. Charles man who succumbed to heroin

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  • Vicki Foley, center, started the Chris Walk Night Out Against Substance Abuse after her son, Chris, right, died of a heroin overdose in July 2007. Foley's sister, Val Kommu, left, also has spoken at past events.

      Vicki Foley, center, started the Chris Walk Night Out Against Substance Abuse after her son, Chris, right, died of a heroin overdose in July 2007. Foley's sister, Val Kommu, left, also has spoken at past events.
    courtesy of Vicki Foley

 
 

It started seven years ago as a one-mile walk through Aurora to battle substance abuse.

But the Chris Walk Night Out Against Substance Abuse has grown into much more,

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Held in memory of Chris Foley, a St. Charles man who died of a heroin overdose in July 2007 after a 10-year struggle with the drug, the event will include a 5K run, Zumba class, a DJ, product and food vendors and support from those who want to fight substance abuse and help people recover from it.

"Each year we added more," said St. Charles resident Vicki Foley, Chris's mom and president of the not-for-profit group ChrisWalk.

"The thing with addiction is you've got to get people talking about it. It carries a stigma," she said. "Just come out and enjoy the evening. Come out for the fellowship. We'll hug, share some stories and you'll go away feeling better."

The event will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Gunnar Anderson Forest Preserve, 719 Batavia Ave., Geneva, behind the Kane County Government Center.

In addition to the 5K, a Zumba class will be held, and Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez and congressman Bill Foster will be guest speakers.

Foley said last year's event raised about $4,000. Proceeds go to provide bus passes to people in Kane County Drug Court and to substance abuse programs such as the Geneva-based Hearts of Hope.

Heroin continues to grow as a problem in Kane and surrounding Chicago counties.

Last year, the Kane County Coroner's Office recorded 22 overdose deaths from heroin.

In 2012, there were 27 fatal heroin overdoses in Kane County.

Deputy Coroner Karen Engh said there have been six heroin overdose deaths so far this year.

"Heroin is a big problem in our county, but now you've got prescription drug use on the rise. People need to be aware of that, be aware of the signs, what to look for," Foley said. "That's what we're here for. Everyone is put on this Earth to help someone."

Registration for the 5K is $25 and can be completed online or the day of the event. The registration fee also is tax deductible.

For more information, visit chriswalk.net or call (630) 802-1868.

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