A message from Jason Fritz of the Terry Fritz Memorial Foundation, Inc
Terry was born on December 20, 1987, to two loving parents (Greg and Eileen) and a 3-½ year old brother (Jason). Just after he turned 2 years old, he had open heart surgery to repair a hole in his heart. He handled the surgery and recovery like a champ. Just before he turned 4, his younger brother was born (Gregory). During his childhood years, stops at Children’s hospital became more frequent than anyone would have cared for, and he had quite a few emergency procedures and surgeries.
Nothing slowed Terry down when he was young. As he got older, restrictions were lifted and he was finally able to play football, which is what he always wanted to do. Sometime during high school, Terry was introduced to Oxycontin and nobody in our family knew he was using them or already addicted. By the time he graduated high school, Terry had come out about his pill use and although we, as a family, knew it was serious, we never saw what was coming next.
He went from taking pills to snorting them, to snorting heroin, which eventually led to IV heroin use. Terry was not fond of needles so to get to that point means that his addiction was stronger than maybe he even knew. There were many times during his close to 10-year addiction that Terry was able to get through withdrawals, detox, and be in recovery. He could beat the physical symptoms, but the mental anguish and anxiety would always win.
During this time, we saw some of his closest friends die of overdoses and we always thought he would see the ending and stop. We were completely ignorant to how strong this disease is. We talked to him, we yelled at him, we went through times of not talking, and we cried together. There were many times when we all thought it was over and he beat it. We made mistakes along the way, the biggest one was keeping this a secret; we were embarrassed, ashamed, and scared. It seems crazy to say that now. But still today, a year after 100,000 people died of overdoses, the stories for families stay the same. People do not speak about substance use disorder because of the stigma associated with it. I wish we could go back in time and scream from the mountaintops that we need help!!!!
On October 1, 2014, I lost my beloved 26-year-old brother, Terry Fritz, to an accidental heroin overdose. Terry was a beautiful soul who was more concerned with helping others than asking for the help that he so dearly needed. We love him and miss him more than words can describe, so in 2015, we started an annual golf outing to raise money, education, and awareness for substance use disorder.
Since 2015, we have donated over $130,000 to local, nonprofit organizations that work alongside us in the recovery community. In 2020, we formed the Terry Fritz Memorial Foundation, Inc, a 501 (c)(3): 84-4765573, non-profit organization.
Our mission is to proactively educate people about the signs of substance use disorder and provide aid to those individuals without means to work with trained professionals and other organizations that provide rehabilitation, support, and counseling services.
Visit www.terryfritzmemorial.org for more information about the organization and the annual golf outing, including how to donate and support sponsorships