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Photos: Chipstand fundraiser raises awareness of opioid crisis

‘Rock the Bullet’ raises funds in memory of Shane Gaudreau, who had an opioid addiction and died in 2020

Shane Gaudreau had a big heart, and was always the first person to help others, said his big sister, Amanda Burton. 

“He had a really big soft spot for children,” said Burton. “He never had any of his own, but he was the fun uncle, as my kids say.”

But Gaudreau also had an addiction to opioids. He passed away July 5, 2020, at the age of 29. “He tried detox several times, we tried to get him into treatment,” said Burton. “He just couldn't hang on long enough, and we lost him.”

Hoping to raise awareness of the opioid crisis as well as some funds for those who live with addictions, Burton hosted the third annual Rock the Bullet fundraiser on Aug. 20.

Burton and her parents are the owners of the city’s two Silver Bullet chip stand locations. 

The fundraiser was held at their Silver Bullet 2.0 location at the intersection of Lasalle and Falcobridge, and included live entertainment, a penny table and vendors.

Proceeds from the event went to two local organizations helping Sudbury’s vulnerable population - Momma Nat & Kaylee’s Outreach and SOS (Sudbury Outreach Support). Burton was hoping to raise at least $1,000 through the Rock the Bullet event.

Participants were also encouraged to give donations of items useful to the vulnerable population.

“We tried to pick organizations that are not funded by the government,” Burton said. “So they do this out of the kindness of their hearts, and the money in their own pocket.”

Burton said there’s a huge need for more treatment options for those who have addictions.

“I mean, getting into detox is one thing, but then they're sent back home to wait for a bed at a treatment centre, which can be anywhere from three months to a year,” she said. “I mean, these people can't wait. They're going to go back and they're going to continue to use. So it starts the cycle all over again.”

Among those attending the Rock the Bullet fundraiser was Denise Sandul. She’s the co-founder of Sudbury Outreach Support, which was benefitting for the fundraiser.

Sandul is also known as the founder of the Crosses for Change memorial in downtown Sudbury, where white crosses have been erected in memory of those who have died as a result of the opioid crisis.

The memorial began when she put up a cross in memory of her 22-year-old son, Myles Keaney, who died Sept. 8, 2020 of an accidental drug overdose.

A white cross has also been erected in the Crosses for Change memorial for Shane Gaudreau, who had died just a few months earlier.

“It’s really important that the community is supporting us and coming out and learning about and becoming more aware of what is still a stigma, what is still a huge problem,” Sandul said. “The intention of the process was to bring awareness and that awareness needs to continue because we're still having people die of toxic poisonous drugs, and the numbers are higher than ever.”

She said her community group, Sudbury Outreach Support, was started after services for the city’s vulnerable population were shut down or limited due to COVID-19.

“We saw the need, we responded, we started with coats and blankets,” Sandul said. “A year ago, we were giving over 200 items a week. And now we're getting close to 2,000 items a week. We go out once a week. 

“The proceeds from this event are going to help us purchase those items that aren't donated, particularly in the winter. We need mitts and gloves and we need socks and we need hand warmers. In the winter, we also provide a meal once a week. So that’s very costly. We really appreciate the community support.”

Heidi Ulrichsen is a journalist with