We, Dewey and Donna Fladd, are working with friends to create a documentary about losing our son, Marshall, to an opiate overdose at the age of 26. Along with our daughter, Sarah, we hope to raise awareness of the opioid epidemic by documenting a pilgrimage from our home in Canandaigua, NY, hiking the final 140 kilometers of the El Camino trail to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, as a visual and emotional metaphor for Marshall’s journey of addiction and recovery.
Like so many others, Marshall was first prescribed opiates by doctors, after he developed migraines at the age of 12. We talked frequently about taking the St. James Way (El Camino) pilgrimage together as a family, after watching the movie, “The Way”. But, we waited too long. Until it was too late. The three of us have vowed to hike it now, as we try to come to terms with the loss of our son (and brother). We’re calling this intensely intimate portrayal of our grief journey and the process of redefining our family, “Marshall’s Way.”
Through Marshall’s Way we will:
— Humanize those who have been lost to the opioid epidemic, and those they leave behind.
— Normalize the choices made by families and friends and give voice to the emotions of grief.
We also aim to help end the isolation of parents and families struggling with opiate addiction.
We will do this by interviewing Marshall’s friends and family and exploring the human side of addiction. We will then walk together, in Portugal and Spain, in honor of Marshall and as a counterpoint to the journey he was forced to walk alone.
All donations exceeding the documentary's production costs will benefit the Marshall Fladd Memorial Scholarship, supporting education for addiction treatment.
Click here to follow our journey on Facebook- Marshall's Way!
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