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Updated: Jan 20, 2020

Long Valley Family Honors Son Lost To Addiction With Seminar

Mark and Maria Broadhurst had their world fall apart Dec. 6. Now they are rebuilding it to help others.

By Russ Crespolini, Patch StaffJan 13, 2020 9:00 am ETReply (1)

LONG VALLEY, NJ - It has been a little over a month since Mark and Maria Broadhurst lost their eldest child, Josh, to "the evil disease of addiction." On Wednesday, Jan. 22 they are hosting a program which they hope will help other families with their struggle.

The program is sponsored by the Stigma Free Task Force in Hackettstown.

"A member of our church, Trinity United Methodist, is the chairperson. His name is Victor Desousa," Mark Broadhurst told Patch.

The program, entitled "Breaking The Barriers" will be held at 6 p.m. at Trinity House, 212 East Moore Street in Hackettstown and will feature speakers:

Mark and Maria BroadhurstMichael CalderonDebi Natali and Helen CareyParent 2 Parent

Broadhurst said that even before the death of his son on Dec. 6, his family decided that they wanted to do something to help other families. It was something, Broadhurst said, his son wanted too.

"It is so confusing, there are many emotions involved, and it is really a misunderstood subject, something that is off limits in the normal course of conversation," Broadhurst said. "There is a lot of judgement involved, which we learned the hard way, is wrong. When my son first began his struggles we were among those who kept it quiet, and before it began, I know I certainly judged other parents when I heard about someone who was using."

Broadhurst is not a stranger to advocacy. The week his son died he had a briefing in the US Senate to advocate for the end of school lunch shaming and concluded with a sponsorship to provide 40,000 meals for hungry families in Puerto Rico.

"But then my world fell apart," he said.

Josh, the first born of his five children, died after struggling for years with addiction. Acknowledging it will never be easy, Broadhurst said he leaned on his personal network of family and friends, faith, and an incredibly compassionate workplace at Chobani for love and support.

He also posted about the death of his son on his professional network to raise awareness of addiction and its impact on individuals, families and entire communities and how it touches everyone from all walks of life. This advocacy will now extend to the program on Jan. 22.

"As a family it took us years of understanding and courage to talk openly about Josh’s struggles. In his death we are confronting it head on and have expressed our desire to make a difference for others. As a nation, as a society, in our communities, in our homes, in our families-we cannot let this keep happening," Broadhurst said. "We need to discuss this epidemic out of the shadows and in the light-we need to embrace solutions that emanate from a place of love & compassion. This will be our life’s work in the days ahead."

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