WINNSBORO, LA. (KTVE/KARD) — “It’s an overwhelming thing.”
It’s the only word that comes to Lilly Harvey’s mind when she looks at all these faces.
“You look at one and you think, God, that looks just like somebody that I know….or that looks just like my cousin; or wow, she was so beautiful. What did she have to deal with in her life?” said Harvey.
Millie was beautiful.
Her mom, Lilly, says she could light up any room.
“She wanted to do beauty pageants when she was little, and she won a lot of beauty pageants,” said Harvey.
“She was a firecracker, that’s from a brother’s point-of-view, but she was a good person,” said Zachary Harvey, Millie’s older brother.
The beauty queen, the dancer, the gymnast. Millie Harvey had it all, but it took one choice for that all to change.
“I got a call one day, and it was my ex-husband. He said, ‘you need to get to Cabrini Hospital as fast as you can. It’s Millie.’ He said ‘she’s not hurt–it looks like an overdose’,” said Harvey.
One lapse of judgment is all it took. Camille “Millie” Harvey–died from a Fentanyl overdose in February of 2017. The loss–leaving an immeasurable hole in the hearts of those who loved her.
“I don’t know if anyone will have a place in my heart like my little sister,” said Zachary Harvey.
The man who provided Millie with the fatal dose of Fentanyl was charged with second-degree murder. In a plea deal, that charge was changed to negligent homicide, and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Now, Millie’s one of the 2,700 people you see on these banners, all gone from an overdose.
But Millie didn’t die in vain.
“It was like, I need to talk to other mothers. I need to talk to other people who have had this happen,” said Harvey.
That’s when Lilly Harvey created “Millie Mattered”, an advocacy group aimed at spreading awareness about overdoses here in Northeast Louisiana and beyond. She’s even working on changing state laws.
“We’re going to call it “Millie’s Bill”. We want stiffer penalties for Fentanyl, the possession and distribution of it,”
Lilly Harvey is making overdose awareness her life’s work, proving what she’s always known: that Millie mattered.
“One person can make a difference, but many can make a change.”
Lilly also write a weekly column for the Catahoula News Booster called “Millie Mattered”. In the column, she discusses how others struggling through addiction have found sobriety. Lilly herself has been sober for five years, and works at a rehabilitation center, sharing Millie’s story with the women in the program.
If you would like to get involved with “Millie Mattered”, you can message Lilly on their Facebook page, Millie Mattered, or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.