Fentanyl awareness 'Jolly10K' run Saturday organized by South Bay mom after losing son to drug

Lauren Martinez Image
Friday, July 21, 2023
Fentanyl awareness 10K run Saturday organized by South Bay mom
A mother who lost her son to fentanyl is organizing a 10K run and walk that will provide solutions and firsthand accounts of fentanyl addiction.

LOS GATOS, Calif. (KGO) -- A mother who lost her son to fentanyl is organizing a 10K community run and walk that will provide solutions and firsthand accounts of what it's like to be in the grips of fentanyl addiction.

Campbell resident Leslie Gentry said the conversation needs to change about the way people talk and think about drug addiction.

"It's so addictive that even though kids know that they can die they're still using it. So it's so powerful and it's just taking over a whole generation," Gentry said.

Gentry reminisced about her son Jolly Jones, who she said struggled with addiction.

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"He was big and smiley. He was a big pain in the butt, but big heart. He was loving," Gentry said.

When Jones was 15 years old he experienced a football injury.

"It created a permanent spinal injury, which caused him pain, and then he started using street pills and getting pills from his friends," Gentry said.

The following year Gentry said her son suffered a severe brain injury.

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Jones continued to take pills and eventually fentanyl.

On July 24, 2021, Jones was at a faith-based men's recovery home in San Jose and experienced complications from opioid withdrawal.

"He lasted three days detoxing fentanyl, and on the third night he went to sleep and didn't wake up and nobody in the house knew that you could die from fentanyl detox," Gentry said.

Jones was 22 years old. Gentry explained that, although he was a supportive son, he had a rebellious side.

And on top of that, Jones was pre-disposed to addiction, since people on both sides of his family struggled with it.

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"No parent should ever know what it feels like to close the casket on their child, and so I hope that nobody else does. And the more information we can get out, then the less parents have to suffer that," Gentry said.

This Saturday Gentry is holding her second-annual Jolly10k fentanyl awareness event in Los Gatos. Nearly 100 people have already pre-registered. The run and walk starts at 8 a.m. but resource booths will be up by 7 a.m. The location of the event is at the Balzer Field parking lot.

"I talked to the fire chief this year. He said he's willing to do it again. They're going to speak on what they see on their calls -- when they get emergency, calls what are they seeing -- what are the ways you can tell it's an overdose," Gentry said.

The local Fire Department will provide CPR demonstrations and Narcan for participants to take home.

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Gentry said a friend of hers, a director of a recovery center for 25 years, will share what she's seeing in the community.

"We also have a couple young men who have overdosed on fentanyl and been brought back to life, and the struggle that they've gone through trying to get their lives back together," Gentry said.

Gentry wants to create a positive environment with solutions and a place where people can ask the hard questions about fentanyl.

"It doesn't cost you to get any information. It's a comfortable environment you can bring your kids, you can come alone, you can go on a beautiful hike. We're going to have a food truck, so if you're hungry, you can have a snack!" Gentry said.

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Gentry joked the 6.9 mile trail loop is kind of like her son Jolly.

"It's kind of challenging and sometimes a pain in the butt totally worth it," Gentry said.

All proceeds from the event will go to the Homes of a Loving Father Recovery Center in San Jose.

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