“I won’t let her be a statistic” Tia’s story

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Tia Fleming

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.”

 

19 COMMENTS

  1. I miss her so much 😢 my heart bleeds for her family and closest friends.
    Tia was a very loving , genuine , charismatic, beautiful and brave soul. She wanted and deserved so much better for herself and her beautiful little girl, and she was made for so much more, so so much more, obviously. She was one of the Good Ones. So Pure of Heart. ❤ she was a huge inspiration, and had the most beautiful and dazzling eyes, smile, and personality. We used to walk in to a party and “turn heads” eh sweetheart? 😘 we always knew that about ourselves lol. I know it was mostly you but you thought i was beautiful too and that made me have confidence. ☺ You helped me become comfortable with myself growing up, learning to wear makeup products you put on me, and blast music as loud as it would go to feel better!! Music was our religion 🎶, music allllways helped. I cherish my memories with yoy so much, Tia. Yup, she’s a huge part of who I am today. She had a profound affect on my life. She was the sister I never got to have, and the closest friendship I ever got to experience. 💘 My favorite of all friends back in highschool era, and for GREAT reason…gawd she was SO MUCH FUN.
    We had so much in common , and as we grew close, her struggles were my struggles, and mine hers. We struggled together but we always came out on top. I only wished I’d spent more time with her in the more recent years as we both have a daughter with gorgeous blue eyes and curly hair, around a year apart. We just grew in different directions. She will never be forgotton, not for a second- there is no forgetting a girl like Tia. She will forever be missed. She will forever be loved, adored, admired, and longed for. Sisters at Heart- Never really apart.🖤 I love you Tia Alexandra Fleming- I know your energy and spirit is here with us, may you make yourself known to us when you are close by please🥰 and watch over your loved ones as always, as they need your comfort and love more than ever now. ♥️ I hope nobody minds that I wrote this and left it here for her, or whomever, to read. Sending Love to you always, Queen Tia* –Thinking of you. Loving you for Eternity, & missing you each of those eternal days- Until we meet again ofcourse, my Angel. 😇

    Kelly 💕

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  2. Mr. Provenzano was spoken to about this, I have to say, over year ago now.. and still, they drag their feet and NOTHING’s BEING DONE!! There was that documentary “Steel Town Down” that should woke up City Council.. but that didn’t do anything either!! I think he has seen his LAST TERM AS MAYOR!

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  3. Chantal Zaharuk THANKS FOR SHARING EMAIL ADDRESS .. I JUST WROTE ON LISAS BEHALF AS WELL . NOW MR. MAYOR ASHLEY CLEMENT SAID IT ALL SHAME ON YOU. I WOULD LIKE TO CONGRADULATE Batchewana first nation for CARING FOR THEIR PEOPLE AND THEIR FAMILES . AND THANK YOU YOU SHOULD BE PROUD. Batchewana First Nation is buying the Lake Shore Salzburger Hof Resort north of Sault Ste. Marie and plans to turn it into a residential mental health and addictions treatment Centre..https://www.iheartradio.ca/cjad/news/batchewana-first-nation-acquires-news-facility-for-opioid-treatment-centre-1.10358249 .. THATS ALL I HAVE TO SAY SHAME ON YOU MR.MAYOR

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  4. My condolences to Tia and her family. Especially little Eila. I’ve been saying for years this town needs a Detox/Rehabilitation facility. Somewhere with a physician and trained staff. So many people actually do want the help. Detox is for a few days maybe a week and then they get the boot. Then it takes sometimes weeks to get into. The system is set up for failure. The downtown core is a (for lack of a better term) war zone. We need a facility here, in the far outskirts of town. Where they can walk in sober up and be in a safe setting for treatment. If they can make it through detox they can start a new life if treatment right through the door. Let’s hope someone can help save our youth and city. Once our city is on the road to recovery then help others.

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  5. Detoxes are needed but that’s just treating the symptoms and not the problem.

    We need to ask ourselves how and why they’re getting into that poison in the first place and why it’s so readily available.

    Combine that with a detox/addiction services and we might see a decrease.

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  6. THIS IS WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE….I MAY BE NIEVE BUT…WE CAN SPEND TONS OF MONEY (OUR TAX MONEY) BRINGING IN PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD, BECAUSE WE NEED A WORKFORCE, AND IGNORE OR GIVE UP ON THE YOUNG PEOPLE WE HAVE RIGHT HERE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

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  7. My heart breaks for this young woman’s family..and for her baby girl who has lost both her parents to addiction. This city needs major intervention now! If not for all the young men and women who’ve already past but for the children who have lost a parent, for the parents who have lost a child to addiction. These are not homeless people, they are not social rejects! These people we are loosing were productive, employed, educated and most of all loved if the help they needed was readily available they’d still be with us today, recovering. 2020 is going to be the worst on record for deaths due to overdose, how much longer will this city continue going without acquiring a level 3 treatment centre? And while we’re on the topic when is someone going to question what “treatment” is being provided to those suffering with addiction at the “Treatment and Remand Centre”?

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  8. MR MAYOR INSTEAD OF DECORATING THE DOWNTOWN WHY DON’T YOU TRY GETTING US A REHAB WE ARE WAY BEHIND TIMES WITH THE AMOUNT OF DRUGS AND DEATH DO TO OVERDOSES YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN WORKING FOR THE PEOPLE AND ADDRESSED THIS YEARS AGO LIKE OTHERS CITIES DID.WHAT KINDA MAYOR DID WE ELECT IF HE DOESN’T KNOW THAT WE HAVE HAD A SERIOUS DRUG PROBLEMS AND MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES IN OUR CITY .CITIZENS BEEN SCREAMING FOR A COUPLE YRS NOW .I DON’T THINK YOU SHOULD BE OUR MAYOR SINCE YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHATS GOING ON IN OUR CITY.YOU ARE AN EMBARASSMENT TO OUR CITY WHEN YOU REPLIED YOU HAD NO IDEA THERE WHERE DRUG ISSUES IN OUR CITY WHAT THE HELL DO YOU DO ALL DAY AT CITY HALL WHAT ARE WE PAYING YOU FOR IF YOU AREN’T EVEN UP TO DATE WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE CITY THAT YOU MR.MAYOR ARE SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT,NEVER MIND YOUR GOLF GAMES OR THE TRIPS HOW ABOUTYOU START BUCKLING UP AND DO WHAT YOU SAID YOU WOULD YRS AGO AND GET US THAT REHAB ASAP NEVER MIND FIXING ALL THESE PLACES UP LIKE CITY HALL AND ALL THIS BULL SHIT STREETS YOU KEEP CHANGING UP GET WHAT THIS CITY NEEDS A REHAB WE DON’T NEED TO DO NO MORE DECORATING PUT THAT MONEY WHERE IT’S NEEDED YOU SUCK AS A MAYOR AND SHOULD BE REMOVED SINCE YOU ARE UNAWARE OF THE CRISIS THAT OUR CITY IS IN AND ALL THESE LIVES LOST SHAME ON YOU YOU ARE AN EMBARRASSMENT TO OUR CITY AND A BIG LET DOWN TO THE CITIZENS OF SAULT STE MARIE AND AREA YOU SHOULD NOT BE IN CHARGE AND A NEW PERSON SHOULD BE ELECTED RIGHT AWAY SINCE YOU QUOTED THAT YOU WERE UNAWARE OF THE DRUG PROBLEMS IN THIS CITY LIKE YOU SHOULDNT HAVE TO HAVE PEOPLE TELLING YOU THE LATEST NEWS YOU AS THE MAYOR SHOULD WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN THIS CITY THAT’S WHY YOU WERE ELECTED CUZ YOU WERE GOING TO MAKE CHANGE THE ONLY CHANGE YOU DID WAS BUGGERED UP ALL THE ROADWAYS THIS YR DECORATED DOWNTOWN THAT REALLY NOONE GOES TO NOMORE THAT MUCH AND YOU NEGLECTED THE CITIZEN OF THE CITY AND ALLOWED OUR CITY TO GO TO THE SHITS PLZ RETIRE TODAY MAYOR YOU ARE NO USE TO US WE NEED A MAYOR THAT KNOWS WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE CITY THAT THEY REPRESENT AND ONE WHOM DOESN’T RELY ON OTHERS TO GIVE HIM INFO YOU SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY KNOW WHAT’S OUT THERE AND YOU HAVE NOT DONE ANY OF THAT .THE ONLY TIME WHEN YOU INGAGE WITH THE COMMUNITY IS WHEN YOU NEED VOTES AND OTHER THAN THAT I DON’T HEAR ABOUT NOTHING ELSE YOU DO YOU ARE A WASTE OF OUR MONEY PLZ PLZ RETIRE YOU ARE A HAZZORD TO OUR CITY AND CARELESS WHERE OUR MONEY IS BEST SPENT .I BET THOSE PARENTS WHOM DON’T HAVE THEIR CHILD AROUND NO MORE AND VICE VERSA CHILDREN WITHOUT A MOM OR DAD RATHER THAT THERE LOVE WAS HERE TO LOOK AT AND TALK TO RATHER THAN YOU WASTING OUR MONEY ON ALL THESE DECORATING DOWNTOWN AND PUTTING MONEY WHERE IT DOESN’T BELONG.THE TAX PAYERS ARE LEFT ONCE AGAIN TO PAY FOR UNNESSARY EXPENSES LIKE NOW WE’RE PAYING FOR ALL THAT CHANGE AND ANOTHER TRAFFIC LIGHT UP JUST SO MR PINO CAN OPEN UP ANOTHER NOT NEEDED GROCERY STORE .THIS CITY IS A JOKE GET US A REHAB BEFORE MORE HAVE TO SUFFER THATS WHAT WE WANT OUR TAX PAYING DOLLARS SPENT ON ARE YOU HEARING THE CITIZENS SCREAMING OR DO YOU NEED SOMEONE THERE TO INFORM YOU OF THAT TO SINCE YOU DON’T KNOW TO MUCH

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  9. I am very sorry for loss. My family struggles every day with mental illness & addiction. The system is not at all set up to truly help those in need. The trouble is when they are ill they won’t agree to treatment early enough. Assistance is poor on so many levels.😢

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  10. I too, have written to my Councillors and the Mayor, quoting from this article. We must push hard for a proper Treatment Centre.

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  11. If you want to know how often this happens, ask someone who works in the malls, I use to up to a month ago, and I can tell you, very often, usually the washrooms, ambulance is called, and they treat them, and away they go, only to do it again eventually, pretty sad actually!! More people dying of overdose than covid, but theres no help for these people!!!!!

  12. Tia was a beautiful young lady. She was giving it her all to fight this addiction. Her dreams were to raise her precious daughter! Unfortunately she can’t t do this we need facilities here so that the can. Not waits as long as 3 months. Buoilf here we can do this as a community, ask for volunteers they will show up. This is more important than apartments that over look the water! Mr mayo use your vote for something POSITIVE person!!!!!!!

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  13. My deepest condolences to you and your family on the loss of your precious loved one Tia. Our city is in a medical and social crisis that if not addressed with utmost urgency will only result in record numbers of young lives lost. God help us all to recognize this and do what ever we can to participate as a community to work toward a solution. Sign a petition and donate if you can towards a treatment center here in Sault Ste.Marie. These are our children,our friends children and our co-workers children.

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  14. Hugs to you all! Tia was a beautiful person inside and out! She was truly a sweet gal with a huge heart ❤️ We need a major change in this city! Lisa I wish you all the best In Regards to your letter to the mayor! Hang in there 🌹🖤

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  15. So sorry for the loss of this beautiful woman!!! I didn’t know her, but it’s only by pure luck that this isn’t my story too, as a daughter and a mother. My heart breaks for all you have been through. There definitely is a need for some major changes, not just here, but everywhere!

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  16. Its true the Sault needs a medical detox years ago like get on it city council. To many young people are dieing!!!

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