MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) – The second annual “Lauren’s Wish” Golf Tournament took place at Lakeview Golf Resort on Friday, Sept. 16, in celebration of its namesake, Lauren Cole’s, birthday.
Michael Cole, “Lauren’s Wish” Founder and Chairman, said the tournament had a great turnout. Registration began at 10:45 a.m. and lunch was served between 11 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. There was also a golfing “Shotgun” that took place at 1 p.m. To wrap up the tournament, it ended with a barbecue dinner from “Big Daddy’s Catering” for guests to enjoy and celebrate together in Lauren Cole’s honor. There was also a live auction with a variety of items.
Lauren Cole passed away on July 9, 2020, to a substance use disorder relapse, and was poisoned by fentanyl. She was a social worker and graduated from West Virginia University in 2017. Three weeks before her passing, Cole reached out to her father and wanted to do something to help those who have been struggling with substance abuse disorder and need and want help but do not have the family or funds to receive it. Michael Cole agreed that when he retired, they could start helping those affected.
After Lauren’s passing, her father wanted to stick to his commitment that he made to his daughter. He said he wants to follow through with her wish and hopes that he is making her proud by doing so. Cole said, “When I go see her again, I want her to say ‘good job’, because she was the inspiration behind it.”
This year, the tournament fell on Lauren’s birthday, so they wanted to make the day a celebration of her life.
Within’ these events, Cole is also trying to raise awareness. According to the CDC, it was reported that by the end of 2021, there were 1,504 drug overdose deaths in West Virginia alone. With how high this number is, and how widespread fentanyl has become, Cole expressed concerns for other generations. “With fentanyl out there now, it’s almost like a fifty-fifty chance that they’re gonna die. We’re in the worst epidemic that this nation has ever seen. Last year, we lost over 107,000 individuals. There’s not much being said about it, we have to do something or we are going to lose a generation. Kids should learn from mistakes and not die from them. We can’t have that, we need to intervene.”
Beds are not always readily available for long-term care when it comes to getting help. Cole is planning to open up the new addiction retreat center that the non-profit has been raising money for since it was started. It will be at the Ramada Inn and will open within the next month.
This center will have 28 beds, social workers, peer-recovery coaches, counselors, and doctors and nurses on staff 24/7. They will keep those seeking help, as well as feed, bathe, clothe and work with them until the bed open, and they will then help those get into long-term care. Cole said that they will not ask people to go back out onto the streets while waiting for a bed to open up.
Cole made it clear that they will not charge, and that insurance coverage does not matter.
“Lauren’s Wish” will be hosting another Fashion Show and Golf Tournament next year. If anyone is interested in donating to the non-profit, please click here.