Runners take off from the starting line  during the fourth annual Shatter the  Stigma 5K at Clawson City Park last year. The event will take place June 1 this year.

Runners take off from the starting line during the fourth annual Shatter the Stigma 5K at Clawson City Park last year. The event will take place June 1 this year.

Photo provided by Tracy Chirikas


Shatter the Stigma 5K to feature new family festival

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published May 14, 2019

 From left, Eliette Clute, Ashlyn Baker, Ayla Barnes, Alaina Sdao and Tessa Chamberlain, of Team Nick, prepare for a balloon launch during the Shatter the Stigma 5K at  Clawson City Park last year. This  year, instead of a balloon launch, organizers will plant small purple crosses in the ground to symbolize Oakland County residents who  died from drug overdoses.

From left, Eliette Clute, Ashlyn Baker, Ayla Barnes, Alaina Sdao and Tessa Chamberlain, of Team Nick, prepare for a balloon launch during the Shatter the Stigma 5K at Clawson City Park last year. This year, instead of a balloon launch, organizers will plant small purple crosses in the ground to symbolize Oakland County residents who died from drug overdoses.

Photo provided by Tracy Chirikas

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CLAWSON — On June 1, the fifth annual Shatter the Stigma 5K will return to Clawson City Park, but this year, it will include a new family festival to encourage camaraderie and increased awareness.

The goal of Shatter the Stigma is to erase the stigma around addiction of all kinds and to facilitate conversation and community between those afflicted by addiction and their families.

Funds benefit Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities prevention, support and recovery programs, specifically the Resolve recovery support program and Keep Them Safe, Keep Them Healthy prevention education.

Registration for the 5K will begin at 9 a.m., and the run/walk will begin promptly at 10 a.m. The cost is $40 for adults; $30 for drug court participants, students younger than 25 and seniors older than 62; and $20 for youths ages 18 and younger. There will be an award ceremony after the run.

The family festival will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will include food trucks, raffles, family-friendly activities and educational experiences, such as marijuana goggles.

At noon, there will be a yoga/mindfulness experience, and at 1 p.m., Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities will offer a community naloxone training class. The training is free, but registration is required, and each participant will receive a Narcan kit.

Narcan is a nasal spray that can help reverse an opioid overdose.

The 5K route will begin and end at the park and will weave through neighborhood streets.

“The beauty of running that way through Clawson is we’re able to be in the community and get the community’s involvement and exposure. It’s important for people to understand what we’re doing and why,” Alliance Community Relations Manager Tracy Chirikas said. “This is not a fun run. This is all about shattering the stigma that’s attached to the disease of addiction.”

Instead of doing a balloon launch to memorialize those lost to addiction and honor those in recovery, Chirikas said organizers will stick 222 purple crosses in the ground to represent the number of overdose deaths in Oakland County in 2018.

Chirikas said she got involved because her son suffered from addiction and she sought to be part of his healing and recovery. He is now in recovery, she said, but has to work on it every day.

“Back in 2008 and 2009, no one was talking about it. It was quiet, and I felt isolated and very much alone,” she said. “I got involved and it exploded from there. I fell in love with the ability to impact and change people from every sector.”

Erica Clute-Cubbin, an alliance board member, has been involved with Shatter the Stigma since its inception. She lost her ex-husband to a drug overdose and has a long history of working with addition and recovery programs.

“His struggle obviously inspired me in a lot of ways,” she said. “Having that knowledge and that base to try to help other people go through the struggles I had experienced really felt like my calling.”

She said she likes Shatter the Stigma because people don’t feel ashamed to talk about their experience, have conversations and offer encouragement.

“I really like that feeling of everyone coming together in Oakland County to better raise awareness and support each other,” Clute-Cubbin said. “We’re really looking to make it an enjoyable day.”

Clawson City Park is located at 935 N. Custer Ave.

For more information, call (248) 221-7101 or visit www.achcmi.org.

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