On August 24, 2017, Dr. Thomas G. White and Sandra B. White lost their daughter, Hilary Grace White, age 27, to opioid addiction. Their lives were changed forever. As Hilary’s parents, they vowed to be her voice to fight this national crisis that killed over 75,000 lives across our country this past year. This epidemic has resulted in more deaths than all that served in the Vietnam War!
Her brother, Benjamin White, was quoted in a recent news article saying “[Hilary] was like any 20-something year old woman in Western New York. She was driven, smart and on the outside polished and put together”. But outside appearance often masks internal struggle. Hilary struggled with an addiction to opiate medication. She was not what most people would characterize as an “addict”. She was finishing her graduate degree in Mental Health Counseling, maintaining high grades, all while working full-time. The way she lived her life exemplified the love and compassion she had for people. She was above all, a person who loved animals, music, Disney World, the Buffalo Bills and, more importantly, helping others.
Originally prescribed medication for her anxiety, Hilary spiraled downward as she had what is commonly known as an “addictive brain”. She fought her disease as hard as she could. On numerous occasions, Hilary went to in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation facilities, spent countless hours at group meetings, and lived in reintegration housing. Unfortunately, this disease was stronger than she, and after ten months of being sober, she relapsed, which resulted in her death.