Alex’s Story

Every person has a story to tell. Some stories are meant to inspire. Some stories sympathize. Some stories are full of warmth and joy. And some stories we wish would transpire only from our dreams, if it all.

This is Alex’s story…
He grew up in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, a suburb just outside of Chicago. He had two loving parents, Jody and Gary, who adored watching their little boy run around in the backyard of their quaint single family home, his precious blond hair flopping about and sweet smile that made even the most miserable of people grin. He had an older sister, Chelsea, who shared the close bond of best friend, playmate and confidant. In 1994, when Alex was 6 years old, his parents divorced. He lived with his mother and older sister and spent Wednesday evenings and every other weekend with his father. Soon after the divorce, Gary began a relationship with Joyce who would become the mother of his younger sister’s Haley and Danielle. They idolized their big brother.He grew up excelling at baseball, basketball and football. He swam and played hockey and soccer, too. Always active and upbeat, he charmed the pants off his teachers, schools mates, parents, and all the girls. He spent his summers at sports camp and sleep away camp. He was a friendly child, constantly surrounded by his peers. He loved warm weather and enjoyed every moment of his trips to Palm Springs, California to visit Jody’s parents/his grandparents, Marilyn and Herb Daitchman. He looked forward to his yearly trips to Connecticut to visit Gary’s parents/Alex’s grandparents, Assunta and Germaine Laliberte, and the other many aunts, uncles, cousins and loved ones out East. He was lighthearted, considerate, thoughtful and cordial – always holding doors, assisting the sick or elderly, and putting others first. Little did we know, his selflessness would be both a blessed characteristic and a destructive curse.He went to Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois, where he maintained a 3.3 GPA. He continued to play sports, a bond of which his father was so proud to share with him. His parents’ love for Motown and R&B music greatly influenced him as he began a special relationship with rap and hip hop. He became fascinated by the culture. The music, the vibe, the clothes, the sounds, the feeling, the food, the message – he loved all of it. His favorites were Notorious B.I.G., 2pac, Lil Wayne, Bone Thugs in Harmony and Wu Tang Clan. During high school, he had two significant girlfriends. His experience with his relationships taught him how to give love, respect and loyalty. But, not how to receive it.During high school he went from an avid marijuana user to a heavy user very quickly. This escalated to selling marijuana in order to support his habit. His lifestyle choices abruptly ended his involvement with sports. He became more and more distant. He started hanging out with a different crowd. His new friends were darker, quieter and more secretive, and it did not take long for him to exude the same traits. His marijuana use led to experimentation with harder drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and acid. During his junior year of high school he got a DUI and was charged with possession of 19 grams of marijuana. He lost his license while gaining mandatory community service. During that time he worked, went to school, dealt with his mother’s divorce, and attended court appointed drug counseling in which he went to AA meetings. It seemed as if things were turning around. By the end of high school he was accepted to six revered universities including Indiana University, University of Iowa and Michigan State University. He chose to attend Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois.

At WIU he maintained good grades, played basketball in his spare time, met many new friends and enjoyed his new found freedom. His prescription pill use escalated to alarming levels. Prior to beginning his sophomore year he came down with a mysterious illness that affected his stomach, and spent months in and out of hospitals. Time lingered and there was still no diagnosis for his condition. Finally, after 5 months of being hospitalized on and off, he was diagnosed with gastritis, a disease that affects the stomach and intestines and was said to be caused by poor diet. An “unhealthy diet” was not the only element causing his digestive problems. If we had known better, we would have seen that this was a sign of opiate use and the withdrawal kept him hospital bound until he could receive his fix.

In November 2008, just before his final exams, he abruptly returned home from school. Alex continued his use of prescription drugs and was back to his old group of friends in his old environment. He was terrified to go back to school. His parents took him back to Macomb in attempt to organize a schedule to take his final exams. A couple of weeks later he was all set to go back to Macomb in the accompaniment of his father to take a few of his tests. A few days before he was to go back, Alex died.

On Monday, December 15th, 2008 at approximately 6:30 pm, Alex was found dead in his bedroom by his mother. After a month long investigation, a toxicology report found that Alex died of a heroin overdose. Marijuana, alcohol, two other opioids and one benzodiazepine were found as well.

His family was destroyed. Their sweet little boy was now gone forever. His friends were devastated.

He died before he even had a chance to help himself. He died before he knew he was addicted. He died cold, scared and alone. He died because of drugs.

Every person has a story to tell. You should be able to tell it yourself.