SCRANTON, Pa. — The world is a different place now than when Erin Moreken left it in 2002.
She was 28 years old when she died from a drug overdose.
The substance abuse problem has only grown since then, but fortunately, this bike ride in her memory has grown with it.
"Twenty years ago, there was quite a stigma. It wasn't as easy to raise money," said organizer Susie Connors.
Former Scranton Mayor Jim Connors and his wife Susie are long-time friends of Erin's parents.
They've helped organize the Tour de Scranton every year since it started in 2004.
"Tom and Betty wanted to turn this tragedy into help for other parents and other children," Jim said.
And that's exactly what they've done.
The Erin Jessica Moreken Drug & Alcohol Treatment Fund has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for recovery centers, homeless shelters, scholarships for students who have been affected by substance abuse, and so much more.
"I think as the years have gone by, we've seen more and more people when they have a family member who has been affected or has died from a drug overdose; I think the stigma has been removed because I don't think there's one family that can say they have not been affected in some way by drugs or alcohol," Susie said.
"When I was mayor, we had a terrible [drug] problem as everybody did in the country. It's just gotten worse. And this fentanyl is an awful, awful thing, and it's killing people," Jim said.
Whether you ride for yourself, someone you know, or someone you don't even know, every dollar raised goes right back into the community to help people overcome addiction.
The Tour De Scranton starts at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
Registration starts at 9 a.m. outside of Scranton High School.
More details can be found here.
WNEP is a proud media sponsor of the event.
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