LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) — Receiving cards is a dying art, but never underestimate its power.
A Lancaster County family who lost their son and brother to drug addiction is using cards to write messages of love to other addicts.
They’re turning a dying art into something that could save a life.
When you think of a big, loud, and fun Italian Family, the Yoders fit the mold. But mom and sister both admit, the funniest in the family, is its youngest member, 27-year-old Andrew Yoder.
“He had an awesome personality..Everybody loved him!,” said Mary, Andrew’s mother.
“Never met a stranger, would talk to anyone…larger than life personality!,” Andrew’s sister, Amy, said.
But in Andrew’s case, behind that infectious laugh and happy personality, hid a lifelong battle with addiction.
Mary Vincent says for her son, it started with alcohol and marijuana when he was in his teens. By 19, he was in rehab and had even kicked his old habits.
But over the years, the demons, as she calls them, would always return to haunt Andrew.
“In about the last year and a half of his life, I believe was the first time he experimented with heroin,” his sister said.
Amy Vincent says her brother fought hard and they fought hard for him.
He was in and out of treatment programs and he was doing better until one slip-up, one dose of heroin mixed with deadly fentanyl. Andrew died on his mother’s 72nd birthday.
“I love both of my children with all of my heart, but as my daughter will be able to say, there is something when you have a son, there is no love that you can describe between a mother and son, and I had that love,” Mary said.
Mary and Amy say no matter how hard they fought, they couldn’t save Andrew, but they remembered how important it was to him to pray for others suffering from addiction and so at his service, Andrew’s mom and sister made a vow.
“I promised Andrew that his death wouldn’t be in vain. That I would continue to do something to reach out all the people suffering from drugs,” Mary said.
“It’s our promise that we would continue to encourage others that are in this pit of drug addiction,” Amy said. And it is a pit. It’s a deep, dark pit.”
That’s how their project to write cards to addicts was born. So far, they’ve written more than 500 of them, messages of love, delivered to people in drug treatment programs.
“It’s helped in my healing process, to write the cards, sometimes they’re written with tears in my face, but I always look at Andrew’s picture when I write them,” Mary said.
“When we write these cards, we stop and pray over every one of them. We pray that God will use them,” Amy said. “We are just his hands and feet.”
In each message, all the words they wish they could have told Andrew the night he took that fatal dose. It’s too late for their beloved son and brother. But they hope it’s not too late for someone else.
Mary Humphreys and Amy Vincenet says they plan to start a non-profit in Andrew’s name.
They want people to know that addiction does not discriminate and their mission is to help anyone haunted by the demons known as drugs.