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ELLIOTT (KDKA) — Stories about opioid use and abuse are everywhere, but for people who have lost a loved one — these stories are personal.

Sundays on the West End Overlook are usually about spectacular views of the city, but this Sunday evening, family members gathered to remember their loved ones lost to opioid addiction.

On the surface, the stories weren’t all that different — young lives taken too soon by addictions they couldn’t beat. But beneath the surface, each story is unique.

opioid crisis memorial They Have Names, They Had Hearts: Opioid Addiction Memorial Makes Sure Victims Arent Just Statistics

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Josephine Rizzo lost her son.

“He was a good person. He lost his way,” she said. “We tried to help him so many times. He had a 10-year-old son left behind.”

Sue Carney lost her son, too.

“I want everyone to know he was a wonderful human being, and we loved him with all our heart,” she said.

“He was just full of life in his smile, his laugh, his goofiness,” Joy Carney, the overdose victim’s sister, said.

Sunday’s event was the product of several local organizations and support groups that try to help family and friends left behind and make sure no one is just a statistic, but a real person who is loved and missed deeply.

Jo Lynn Seagriff was there to represent her son Colin.

“He has a [13-month-old] son named Braden, and he didn’t even got to know him,” she said. “They have faces. They have names. They had hearts. They had dreams. They had aspirations and hopes.”

opioid crisis balloon They Have Names, They Had Hearts: Opioid Addiction Memorial Makes Sure Victims Arent Just Statistics

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Organizers read names one by one, giving any family interested a chance to release balloons, butterflies, read poetry and even sing original compositions.

At the end of the day, this was about loss, love and trying to help people fill a hole.

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