The Dillon Garrity Foundation Looks to Help Families Struggling with Addiction

 

By Evan Wechman

 

On April 17th, 2023, Dillon Garrity, a 2011 Morris Knolls graduate passed away from the disease of addiction.  Garrity, who grew up in Denville and was an ice hockey star for his high school, was loved by many.  He enjoyed helping people, playing guitar for his friends, and always managed to put a smile on peoples’ faces.

 

He also was going to marry the love of his life, Genevieve Sheeran in the summer, and he adored their son.  He was only 30 years old when he died and had a great future ahead of him.

 

His fiancé’s life was immediately turned upside down as she lost her future husband, the father to her child, and her best friend.  

 

According to Sheeran, “Dillon had a really big heart.  He was an amazing dad.  Unfortunately, he only got to do that for 18 months.  He wanted to do the right thing and unfortunately, he couldn’t overcome this.  Even though he struggled day to day with the disease, he still made everybody around him happy and feeling good.  A lot of people who struggle don’t feel good about themselves and I think it’s such a testament to him that he was able to make other people feel good.”

 

Since Sheeran wanted to address the disease of addiction in Morris County, she poured all her free time into creating The Dillon Garrity Foundation. This non-profit was formed a few months ago with the goal of making sure other families didn’t have to go through the same pain as she had.

 

Sheeran says her main goal is to reduce stigma so people who are suffering from addiction will be able to ask for help.

 

“I think there’s a connotation with addiction in general that nobody really wants to talk about it.  They’re embarrassed or ashamed and what I was trying to get across with my website for Dillon was to explain who he was as a person.  There’re people who have friends and have a family that are really great people and still doing a lot of the right things, but still struggle.  And some of these people we would never even think are addicts, and this can still happen to people.”

 

Some of the things Sheeran is hoping to achieve in the next year include reaching more students by speaking in the local schools, as well as ensuring all families have Narcan in their home.  She is also hoping more affordable services are available to families going through this terrible ordeal.

 

Sheeran is also adamant about the dangers of fentanyl in America.  For her, she is concentrating right now on Morris County, where the problem is prevalent as well. According to her, many people think they are just taking a small dose of drugs, but when it is laced unknowingly with fentanyl, it is poison.

 

This past May 7th was National Fentanyl Awareness Day and Sheeran was busy instructing people how to use Narcan and passing out Fentanyl test strips too.  Sheeran is also not shy in letting people in the community know that just 2mg of Fentanyl is enough to kill someone. Fentanyl is the number one cause of death in men aged 18-45 in our nation.

 

Sheeran’s passion about helping others fight the disease has already helped raise funds to combat addiction, and let others know there are support systems in place to lend a helping hand.

 

“There’s always somebody there for support.  I think that’s the biggest thing for anybody who is struggling is to find support.  I don’t want people to feel like they’re alone because this happens to a lot of families.  I felt alone when it was happening to me but I’m not alone. I’ve learned that just by doing this.”

 

If people want to support the Dillon Garrity Foundation, they can visit Our Mission – Dillon Garrity Foundation.

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