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Sisterhood Spotlight

Delaine Mazich

Delaine Mazich is a mother of three boys and a women’s leader who regularly gives of her time in missions. In this Sisterhood Spotlight, Delaine shares about her son, Grey. Delaine tells Grey’s story out of a desire to build awareness about the dangers of fentanyl poisoning and to spread HOPE to save lives.

Please tell us about your family and more specifically about your son, Grey.

Grey was a wonderful son, brother, teammate and friend. He was fiercely loyal to his friends, always stepping up to protect and support them. Everyone thought Grey was their “Best Friend.” Grey was that special kind of friend—always listening, always protecting them when they were in danger or hurting. He had a tremendous heart and loved those he surrounded himself with.

He was a natural leader but never wanted or liked the attention. Others looked up to him, respected him and wanted to be part of his team. He was a talented athlete—Captain of his high school football and rugby team. Grey was a fearless competitor and would never give up. He played many games with broken and dislocated bones refusing to give in.

Grey had an exceptional sense of humor- he always knew just what to say and made others feel comfortable and loved. Grey could take any awkward situation and turn it into comfortable one, bringing out the best in those around him. He knew exactly how to make people feel respected and confident.

Tell us about September 2020 and your family’s tragedy.

On September 2, 2020, my husband and I experienced every parent’s worst nightmare. Three Fairfax County police officers rang my doorbell. The lead officer announced to us that our son, Greyson Cole Mazich had passed.

It was Grey’s senior year at Clemson.

It’s truly difficult to express the pain, the anguish you have when you lose a child.  There are no words.

Grey’s passing was during the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown, so every detail was even more difficult.  The worst was waiting and waiting for the toxicology report to come back. Autopsy reports had shown that Grey had double pneumonia. I knew he was sick as he had been calling and texting me that he felt horrible. When the report finally came, the cause of death was 100% fentanyl. Nothing else. Whatever pill Grey had taken that night to sleep was 100% fentanyl. He never had a chance.

When I spoke with the coroner, I asked her what I could do to prevent this from happening to anyone else. Her answer? Tell people. Talk about it. Do not let your son die in vain. The stigma, shame and guilt is so great she said sometimes parents don’t even tell their spouse and immediate family.

That’s my plan—to honor Grey by talking and sharing about the dangers of fentanyl. Grey would always stand up for his friends and protect them, so I know he would want me to do the same thing, protect.

I never would have survived this tragedy without my faith. Every day I asked God for protection of Grey.  Not once have I thought this was an unanswered prayer. In some way God has protected Grey and our family in a way that we will one day find out.

What have you learned about fentanyl poisoning?

Thankfully, awareness and education concerning fentanyl poisoning has come a long way in just two years, but we have a long way yet to go. In a survey conducted in Fall 2022, over 60% of young people between the ages of 13-24 had not seen, heard or read any ads or public service announcements on social media about fentanyl being used to make fake pills. This has to change. We can do a better job.

When asked what venues would be most receptive to learning about the dangers of fentanyl poisoning, 64% said social media posts from prominent individuals and influencers; 60% said PSA announcements; 58% said presentations and group discussions at schools and on campus; and 52% said law enforcement.

Tell us what you are doing in Grey’s memory?

To honor my son Grey, I will maintain HOPE that we can save lives by sharing his story:

H             Have that conversation with your children, family and friends;

O             Observe and monitor your child’s social media (especially Snap Chat and Venmo) and ‘open the mail’—the majority of fake pill distribution is going through the United States Postal Service while dealers are delivering the drugs to doorsteps;

P             Prosecute the dealers and distributors—work with and support law enforcement;

E             End the stigma—talk about fentanyl poisoning and spread the word. This can happen to anyone.

What can parents watch for to identify risks associated with fentanyl poisoning?

Mental health is so important and needs to be addressed. Stress and anxiety is rampant with young people. The majority of young people (77%) said talking to a close friend would be their first course of action while only 59% said they would seek help from a mental health professional. This is where the “awkward zone” comes into play. Most of the time friends don’t know what to say to a friend who is struggling. This is why we need to work with our youth, training them, educating them on the facts so they’re prepared and know what to say. Most of the time, those struggling simply want to be heard.  Listening to our friends and hearing the pain they’re experiencing can be powerful.

I am so confident that we can end the poison that is taking lives.  We may not be able to control the supply of what’s coming into our country, but we can work to eliminate the demand.

Where can Virginians go to get help?

Visit the First Lady’s Women+girls (W+g) web page for additional information.

*research statistics commissioned by Song for Charlie and executed by Breakwater Strategy, August 2022

About Delaine Mazich

Delaine Mazich and her husband, Tom, live and have raised their three boys and five golden retrievers in Great Falls, VA. Delaine’s background began in the business world, but took a right turn after her involvement with international missions in Burundi, Africa. Delaine’s passion lies within women’s ministry and has enjoyed leading, building and teaching small groups for over 30 years. She understands the power of ‘Sisterhood’. Her efforts include What One Woman Can Do, An Evening in December, Get Uncomfortable and the Child Survival Program with Compassion International. Currently, Delaine assists various organizations with establishing cultures of care and connection as a certified trainer and speaker with Inspiring Comfort, found at Delaine enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching football, cooking, reading, enjoying the outdoors and nature, life-long learning and empowering others.

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