Massive display of crosses highlights annual deaths from opioid addiction

Henrico County

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Henrico County family is making a big statement in their front yard in hopes the display will draw attention to the ongoing drug problem plaguing the community.

Every one of the thousands of crosses you can see in the front yard of the Staples Mill Road home represents a life lost to addiction in Virginia.

That’s roughly 3,500 people a year, according to the McShin Foundation — the recovery organization behind the white marker project.

So, why is the display in the front yard of a Henrico County couple? Because their daughter is an addict.

“It’s killing our kids, our sisters, it’s killing too many people.”

The thousands of white, wooden crosses capture more than just a passing glance. 

“Every one of these markers represents one person,” explained homeowner Amy Lea. “It’s killing our kids, our sisters, it’s killing too many people.”

Lea, unfortunately, knows first-hand the powerful grips drugs can have on a person. 

“My daughter is 110 days clean today,” Lea said. “Thank God for that. This is what has brought me into all of this.”

Lea asked the McShin Foundation to plant the marker project on her property to grab the attention of the thousands of people who drive by each day.

It’s a mobile movement to honor lost lives and raise awareness about the devastating disease of addiction.

“Let’s get the message out to at least one person and hopefully be able to save someone’s life,” Lea said.

“It makes me sad,” project coordinator for the McShin Foundation Cotter Leonard said. “You know, these are my friends and they’re no longer here and that’s why I’ve raised this awareness to show, you know, these are people we love.”

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