Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. In fact, when a senseless tragedy ends the life of a young person, it can shake an entire community. It would be easy to sink into a depression and lose hope after experiencing such loss — but for one couple it simply wasn’t going to due.
At nine months old, Tyler Bornstein was walking; at twelve months, he was swimming with water wings and by age five he was doing push-ups on his living room floor. An athlete from an early age, Tyler excelled at every sport he played, from baseball and soccer to football and golf. But with sports came injuries, and by the time he was eighteen, Tyler had undergone two major surgeries on his right elbow. Each one sent him home with prescription medication to help manage the pain, and innocently, before he knew it, Tyler was addicted to opiates.
The opiate addiction led to heroin, which led to stints in and out of rehab facilities. On September 28, 2014, the Summit County Sheriff’s Department showed up at the Bornstein’s home with the news no family ever wants to hear; while Tyler was in the process of overdosing, the person he was with, instead of calling 911 for help, dumped him in a vacant lot and left him there to die. Tyler Wilson Bornstein died of a heroin/fentanyl overdose at the age of twenty-three.
Tyler’s parents, Shelly and Travis, founded Hope United two years later to bring awareness and support to families struggling with addiction.
Instead of dwelling on their pain they sought to save the lives of others and to prevent other parents from experiencing the devastating heartache that comes with losing a child. Through their efforts — and those like them — Americans can end opioid addiction and take back their communities.