The man that wore these shoes was an extraordinarily beautiful person. The radiance of his soul burned like a roaring fire, and he lit up the hearts of anyone that knew him. Jamie was a beloved son, brother, grandson, nephew, boyfriend and friend. He was sensitive, kind, and creative. He loved the outdoors, the mountains and hiking; he also loved skateboarding, and he loved his family deeply. He and his identical twin brother, Jordan, were competitive snowboarders who traveled together to many snowboarding events across Canada and the U.S. To Jamie, Jordan was everything.
When Jamie was just a kid and into his teen years, he endured numerous injuries. He broke his wrist a couple of times, dislocated his elbow which eventually required surgery, broke his collar bone and was prescribed opiates by the doctors for pain. Jamie also suffered several severe concussions. When he broke his scaphoid, a small bone in the wrist, it required four bone grafts. This was when he was first given IV fentanyl. Jamie’s addiction eventually shifted from prescription drugs to highly poisonous street opioids. Jamie fought very hard to overcome his addiction; he attended countless residential treatment centres, sought counseling, he even tried hypno-therapy. Jamie lost his battle on May 23, 2018. The week before his death, Jamie had detoxed himself and was trying desperately to get into yet another treatment centre. It is extremely dangerous to come off of opioids without support because a person’s tolerance to the drug drops significantly, leaving them very susceptible to overdose. Did you know that you have to send an application and be accepted into our funded treatment centres?! Could you imagine if you were in an emergency situation and dying from your disease or from a heart attack and you had to apply for medical treatment and wait for a call back?! I talked to Jamie on the phone the day before he passed. Even though he sounded defeated and like he had lost hope, he said to me, “I’ll let you go mom, I’m going to go try to get in for treatment somewhere.” He said, “I love you.” I said, “I love you too."
Losing my son has been devastating for me, his family and friends and his twin brother. I have his snowboard and his picture propped up in my house, and each time I walk by I tell him I miss him and love him.
Street Health is pleased to be part of Twenty/Twenty Arts Weathered photography exhibition. Our thanks to everyone who shared photo memorials of family members and friends who have died from overdose. Your photos are a powerful statement that more must be done to prevent these overdose deaths that are killing an average of 55 Ontarians each week.
Street Health’s Overdose Prevention Site (OPS) is a part of the effort to save lives.
We provide service to those who are experiencing homelessness and stigma in Toronto’s south east region. The Ontario Government eliminated funding for this site in March, 2019. Since that time numerous individuals, family foundation and community groups have been instrumental in maintaining this service. Your donation as part of the Weathered campaign is vital to maintain this site in the coming year.