NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Every step Brett Bramble takes is one towards healing and helping.
“It’s emotionally draining,” he told CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez. “That’s the hard stuff. Literally crying every day.”
Four years ago, Bramble’s sister Brittany died from an opioid overdose after her use started with prescribed medication for back pain.
Since her death, Bramble has dedicated his life to educating people about opioid addiction and ways to get help.
He’s spreading overdose awareness in a walk across America, starting in New York Wednesday in Manhattan and Thursday in the Bronx.
“More than 200 people die every day in this country from drug overdose deaths,” said Bramble.
“If you need awareness, we can tell you how bad this is,” he said. “If you’re a city leader, we’ll you what has worked, what we have seen work in other communities…and share that information with you.
“It basically depends on what you want to hear,” he said. “We’ll talk, you just gotta listen.”
Bramble and his walking companion John Azerolo began the East Coast leg of their journey in late January, departing from Key West, Fla.
Their goal is to reach Fort Kent in Maine at the beginning of August.
“I’ve had grown men break down in my arms because I tell them what I’m doing and they’ve lost a son or a daughter,” said John Azerolo.
“A lot of people know somebody who has died or who is suffering,” Bramble said.
Families all across the country have been following Bramble on Facebook, some joining the walk as he visits their community.
Barbara Biuso of South Setauket, Long Island, lost her son Anthony to an overdose. She has never met Bramble, but says his courage has given her strength.
They spoke by phone for the first time today.
“Brett, you know you’re my hero,” said Biuso. “I’ve said that to you a million times.”
“No, it’s you and it’s Brittany and Anthony that keeps us going,” replied Bramble.
“I really feel that unity is a huge part of the solution,” he said.