LADY’S ISLAND, Sc. (WTOC) - A Lowcountry woman started a small business to try to find her “why” after tragedy struck her family.
Cooka Sales runs Richardson’s Angels - a business that is about far more than turning a profit. She hopes by sharing her story, she may be able to help someone else.
She is a mother on a mission.
“People are aware of the opioid addiction, but we need to be more than aware. We need to do something about it," she said. So, she is doing something. She spends time making angels and crosses from oyster shells.
“I mean, so, they start out like this, and then I paint the back and I paint around the edge with the gold. I do have silver as well, but the gold is so popular. I really like the gold the best," Sales said.
Thirty percent of the proceeds go to your choice of three organizations: The National Volunteer Fire Council, the Lock Your Meds Campaign, or toward scholarships for students looking to earn a two-year degree.
“He loved being with his friends and his family, so he was...he was my social boy. He liked to get out there and go and do and so...but he was happy. He was my happy boy," she said.
Sales’ son Richardson - like thousands of Americans - became addicted to opioids.
“We were going through it again, trying to get everything right, and he was doing well. Then he had taken a pill that had been tainted that he had purchased a few months before. and it had fentanyl in it.”
Richardson died from an overdose on August 7, 2017. His battle with addiction only lasted a few months. He was 23-years-old. From there, Sales said she needed to find her purpose again.
“So with the help of my sister, Nancy, we came up with Richardson’s Angels, but it’s very therapeutic. It’s very therapeutic.”
She began the business in February, and says it’s growing every day.
"For me to do it in honor of my son, Richardson, that’s what means so much, and I think he would be very proud.”
She has just one message that she hopes people take away.
“The biggest thing is, it doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter where you’re from. It doesn’t matter who you know. I mean, it doesn’t matter where you live. It can happen to any of us, and it does, and it did. It happened to my son Richardson.”
If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, you can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1.800.662.HELP.