Hope Sheds Light continues its educational outreach with their 4th Annual Celebration of Hope Walk September 9 to support those affected by the disease of addiction.

"The objective is to spread awareness, support and education for families and individuals impacted by all forms of addiction, obviously including the most prevalent types related to the opioid crisis," said Toms River Author Alicia Cook who will be one of the participants in the walk and one of the speakers.

"Between 8 and 10 am is the registration period, then there's a light breakfast where the vendors and music will be on site," said Cook. "Parking will be available for free as well."

There will also be a 50/50-raffle and a rendition of 'Amazing Grace' to close out the event around 12-noon.

The two-mile walk on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights on Hiering Avenue follows the speaker portion including Cook and others who will share how they've been impacted by the disease of addiction.

"There will be a group of people there that will absolutely, 100-percent, know what you are going through or have went through," said Cook.

She says battling addiction or watching a loved one go through it can make you feel isolated but this event is about bringing people together to support and help each other.

The event serves as a light for those who are struggling or feel that they're alone in this fight.

With the ongoing heroin and opioid epidemic wreaking havoc across the globe and close to home here in Ocean County and New Jersey, even when things look scary and there is fear...comes hope and together a community gathers in support for one another to work together to help one another.

"It could be very dark and sad and we're losing people so frequently, but there are, numbers estimate, about 22,000,000 people in our country living in recovery," said Cook. "So that's something you want to celebrate too and not lose sight of the fact that recovery is possible."

Cook says the event and walk September 9 is about coming together as a community in support and solidarity.

"This whole day is centered around remembering people we've lost, rooting for the people that may still be struggling with this disease and celebrating the people that have been able to find recovery again," said Cook.

She encourages anyone affected by addiction to attend the event which includes support services.

"Ten years ago when I lost my cousin Jessica I can't imagine there would have been an event like this," said Cook. "That shows how far we've come in breaking the stigma."

The 2-mile race is for individuals and teams for a $10.00 fee and that includes a t-shirt for participants who sign-up.

Donations are suggested not mandated that day.

"You don't have to raise money," said Cook. "There's no quota or anything like that, you can just walk as a sign of solidarity and support but in raising money it goes directly towards the people who need it the most."

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