Founded in July 2015, Fighting for Alyssa is dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of substance abuse and addiction in our communities.
We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity with the Akron Community Foundation (ACF).
Fighting for Alyssa was founded in May 2015 by Lea Heidman and Brian Malone after the sudden passing of their daughter Alyssa due to a heroin overdose. At the time of her death on March 18, 2015, Alyssa had just turned 21 years old. The purpose of FFA is to raise funds through various annual events and distribute those funds to local agencies which assist in promoting education, awareness, and treatment of substance use disorder in our local communities. Your contributions and support help FFA fund programs to fight this epidemic in our local communities. Together our committee decided to use the phrase, #lovespeaks, to encourage everyone to love themselves to stay sober; to love someone enough to speak out for them to seek help; and to give a voice to those who can no longer speak.
Alyssa carried with her a light that illuminated a sense of hope, warmth, and comfort, which attracted other individuals to envelope themselves in. Tragically, that light was temporarily dimmed by her passing caused by a heroin overdose. Alyssa’s presence lives on, however, in FFA in which she guides other individuals to empower themselves against addiction. At the time of her passing, Alyssa was a college student with an interest in one day becoming a substance abuse counselor. Alyssa was always present to help others in need often at the expense of helping herself. She was very gifted in writing, drawing, photography, and was an avid connoisseur of all types of music. In order to honor Alyssa’s talents, FFA attempts, among other initiatives, to fund programs through local agencies to assist individuals in fostering those skills to combat addictive behaviors.
What We Do
Fighting For Alyssa (FFA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed in 2015 which is dedicated to raising funds to distribute to local agencies that promote the awareness, prevention, and treatment of substance use disorder in and beyond Northeast Ohio.
We would like to emphasize that your financial contributions to date have allowed FFA, among other initiatives, to fund a program named Alyssa’s Promise at Akron Children’s Hospital that will, in the near future, assist in promoting education and awareness for the youth in over 28 counties.. FFA has sponsored patient rooms at the Key which is a women’s treatment center in Lorain County operated by the LCADA Way. FFA has also sponsored a community room at LCADA Way treatment facility located in Lorain and Medina counties as well at Robby’s Place, a community center for recovering addicts providing peer support, counseling, and job training located in Medina. FFA has provided funding to the Summit County Community Partnership to expand the use and distribution of Deterra bags which assist in the disposal of unused opioid prescriptions. FFA has sponsored Project Panda for the Summit County Community Health Center which assists in the education of adolescents about substance abuse in local schools. FFA has also provided grant funding to Bianco Accommodations, which provides sober living facilities in Summit County. FFA provided funding, and helped create, approximately one hundred “blessing bags” filled with hygiene items, food, and clothing to six different local treatment facilities. FFA has also provided grant funding to The Lantern, a male treatment facility located in Cuyahoga County.
Fighting For Alyssa has currently given grants to the following substance abuse disorder treatment and prevention organizations…
The LCADA Way, Robby’s Voice, Summit County Community Health Center, Summit County Community Partnership, & grade school educational materials.
The founders of FFA have personally funded (with non FFA monies) a room in the Akron Ronald McDonald House and a photography studio and outdoor program at Vista Residential Treatment Center in the name of their daughter Alyssa.
Fighting For Alyssa has advocated, educated, & created addiction awareness by participating in…
a CBS 60 minutes interview entitled "Heroin in the Heartland”; Medina County Earth Day Fair; Wadsworth Blue Tip Festival; Lorain and Medina County Fairs; Wadsworth International Opiate Awareness Day; Chagrin Falls Film Festival opioid awareness film "All It Takes"; advocated before the Ohio House of Representatives to promote the passage of House Bill 250 to limit the availability and frequency of opiate prescriptions; participated in a book written by Elke Summers for distribution in schools to counsel young children about substance abuse; created a memorial concert and opioid seminar in Asheville, North Carolina where Alyssa passed away; participated in various interviews about the heroin epidemic which aired on PBS, Channel 3, Channel 19, Wadsworth Community Radio, WTAM 1100, Northwestern University, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland.com and the Medina County Gazette; FFA was selected by the Medina County Drug Abuse Commission as its grant recipient for the 2017 Medina County Kitefest and 5K Run for Recovery; FFA also participated in promoting International Overdose Awareness day by conducting a march at Progressive Field and throwing out the first pitch at a Cleveland Indians game.
Fighting For Alyssa also is aligned/associated with the following organizations…
Summit County Opiate Task Force, Breaking Barriers-Hope is Alive, Ohio CAN, ADMH Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Board, Division of Public Safety Summit County, Akron Children’s Hospital Call to Action, The LCADA Way, Robby’s Voice, Summit County Community Health Center, & Summit County Community Partnership
Fighting For Alyssa also has self-funding satellite committees in Oregon and Massachusetts