Tia Fleming, 31, was an aspiring nurse, esthetician, friend, mother and a daughter.
“I just looked on to March Street and there was police cruisers all over the road. I turned around I went back there went to her door. They asked me who I was and that’s when they told me Tia passed away.”
This is how Lisa Foggia explained she learned of her daughter’s death. It was November 1, 2020, from a suspected overdose but it’s not how she remembers her daughter. Sitting at the same kitchen table Tia had just weeks earlier we are surrounded by flowers and pictures of Tia and her family members.
This is where I met with Lisa and her family to tell her story.
Tia was so full of life and she wanted to get better. She had a spot at Camillus centre in Elliot Lake opening up later this month and her 3-year-old daughter’s birthday was approaching quickly.
For the past three months, Foggia said her daughter had been fighting the demons that followed her, the addiction the mental health with the help of her family and others in the community.
“I want to go take my Suboxone and I want to get clean. I need your help. Can I stay at your place?” said Tia to her mother a few weeks ago. “I said yes. So we took her to get her Suboxone. We took her clothes, she came here. She was trying really hard to stay clean.”
Her mother is passionate in making sure the public is aware she isn’t just another druggie or addict.
“She wanted to get clean. She wanted it so bad. Like we heard her speak about it. That’s what she wanted for her life. She wanted a future she had dreams. She had two years of nursing. She was an esthetician, like this kid had dreams.”
Connie Raynor-Elliott was one of the last people to talk with Tia just a few days before she passed away.
“Tia was an amazing, beautiful young lady and her daughter was her everything, full of life, wanting to make our world a better place, always the first one posting on Facebook saying Good Morning and cared about everyone and everything. She was an Angel on Earth and is missed by many,” said Raynor-Elliott.
Foggia was also critical of some of the care her daughter was getting at SAH.
They (SAH) don’t provide any medical care like Suboxone. So I had to pick her up from detox every morning and take her to the pharmacy and then take her back to the hospital,” said Foggia. “Like it’s craziness. Like everybody should be working together, there should be a proper detox centre, where there’s medically trained staff with compassion.”
She believes her daughter fell through the gap which occurs in treatment between SAH and a place like Camillus outside of town. She is angry and disappointed and wants to make a difference. She’s asking for a sit down with Mayor Christian Provenzano and has a message for him.
“Mr. Provenzano, listen to my words, we need help for the addictions and mental health services in Sault Ste. Marie. If not for the people who have already passed from addictions and overdoses than for the upcoming generation, this cannot be a lost generation,” stressed Foggia.
“Other people’s children, your children, everybody is going to grow up and face these kinds of problems. Whether we want to admit it or not. We need addiction services, we need mental health, we need to fill in the gap where Sault Ste. Marie is failing.”
“I’m hoping to meet with you so we can further discuss these issues.”
Tia grew up surrounded by love from her whole family. She loved her little girl and she wanted to change the world not just for herself but for others in her situation.
“Don’t judge my daughter because she was a well-rounded individual, she cared for everybody wanted to see other people get clean, not just herself, but gave other people advice and help them with their lives and she couldn’t help herself.”