In a now viral photo, Cheryl Towery hugs her only daughter, Elaina, before she has to take her off life support.
“She’s my only daughter, my best friend,” Towery tells FOX 2.
She has a photo taken of her hugging Elaina, 22, one last time. It’s a hard photo to take, but Cheryl felt others must know the horrors of the opioid epidemic gripping the nation.
Elaina had battled addiction for seven years. She had overdosed five times before, and been in five treatment centers. However, there was no coming back from this one. It's believed her heroin was laced with fentanyl.
“I wasn’t prepared for what I saw in the emergency room, because that’s the worst I've ever seen her,” Cheryl added.
Cheryl says Elaina grew up in a happy home, but an abusive boyfriend led her to prescription drugs in 2010. She has a 5-year-old son, Christopher, but she gave him up so he could have a better life. Cheryl believes that decision fueled her addiction.
Although it is too late for Elaina, Cheryl will do everything she can to prevent other parents from having to take similar photographs of their children.
“I’m going to fight for the rest of my life to make sure the people down here on the street selling this to people, need to be locked up,” she says.
In the meantime, she hopes the tragic last photo with her daughter will make children and parents think twice.
If you'd like to make a donation to Elaina's family to help pay for her funeral, you can do so via their GoFundMe account here.
Watch the video to see the powerful goodbye.