Walk raises nearly $90,000

FRANKLIN. About 600 people take part in the ninth annual Changing the Face of Addiction Walk to benefit the Center for Prevention & Counseling in Newton.

Newton /
| 09 Aug 2023 | 06:00

The ninth annual Changing the Face of Addiction Walk, held Saturday, Aug. 5 in Franklin, has raised nearly $90,000 for the Center for Prevention & Counseling in Newton.

The nonprofit organization’s goal was to raise $100,000. Donations will be accepted through the end of August online at www.RecoveryWalk.org

About 600 people took part in the one-mile walk, which began and ended at the Franklin Firemen’s Pavilion.

Many of the participants were walking in support of or in memory of someone who struggled with addiction.

Paul and Jennifer Assante of Andover were part of a team walking in memory of his daughter Danielle Assante, who died of an overdose in April 2022. She was 36.

The team of 17 people included Danielle’s two children, who now live with their grandparents. Team Assante raised about $6,900.

”We love what the center does,” said Jennifer Assante. “We strongly support it.”

High school friends of Elaine Tizzano of Franklin joined her for the ninth year in a row. She is one of two mothers who founded the event in 2015; both had lost sons to addiction.

“The Changing the Face of Addiction Walk is growing each year. Our first year, we had about 225 people and now we are over 600 strong,” Tizzano said. “The walk began trying to change the stigma of this disease. Now we all walk together united together. We hope that we walk in remembrance of our loved ones and also celebrate those in recovery.”

Thirty-eight people walked this year in memory of George Tizzano, who died died in 2014 at age 27. The team raised nearly $3,200.

Before the walk began, co-founder Mary Burns of Stockholm told the crowd that she and Tizzano started the walk to change how addiction is perceived by many people.

“Both of us loved our kids. ... Both of us saw that their addictions weren’t just a choice” after drugs changed their brain chemistry, she said.

John Morgan, a Frankford resident who has been in recovery for three years, said he took part in the walk to be proactive. “I wanted to get out and show my support.”

He is looking forward to taking advantage of the center’s programs.