One Year Later: Duluth Mother Fights to Keep Son's Memory Alive

By KBJR News 1

August 6, 2010 Updated Mar 26, 2010 at 9:03 AM CDT

Posted by Boua Xiong

It's been a tough year of healing for Debbie Davis. Thursday marks the death of her first born child Luke. He died of a morphine overdose.

"His girlfriend had actually come over here and found him," Davis said.

Luke Hylden, 18, had been battling depression for years, according to Davis. At 15 he attempted suicide and was brought to Miller-Dwan for help. Even with the help Luke still had trouble.

In the days leading up to his death Davis said she noticed something odd about her son but when she confronted him she got nowhere.

" I'm like Luke, what are you doing. I know you're doing something. Nothing mom. I'm not doing anything mom. I know you're doing something please tell me. I'm not doing anything mom I'm just really tired," Davis said.

It turns out Luke was taking prescription drugs. Each month in Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, an average of two young adults, just like Luke, die of a drug overdose.

Today, Davis is working to change that harsh reality.

"I just think if I can help another family not to have to go through what we've gone through in the last year with the loss of Luke I feel like I've done a tremendous thing," Davis said.

This Saturday Davis and Luke's friends are hosting a benefit concert and memorial at Pizza Luce. All the money raised will go to Miller Dwan's "Turning Point" campaign which has plans to build a mental health facility to help kids and young adults.

Davis hopes to raise enough money to build a music therapy room in her son's memory.

"There's something about a mom and son bond. I have a big empty hole in my heart but I'm very thankful I have my daughter," Davis said.

Davis said while nothing will ever bring her son back, she is hopeful her efforts to bring awareness to prescription drug abuse will save others from the loss she has had to endure.

Miller-Dwan needs to raise about $5 million to build the facility. So, far they've raised half the amount needed.

"A Warm Yellow Light Memorial Fundraiser' in honor of Luke Hylden will be Saturday, March 27th at Pizza Luce in Duluth beginning at 9pm. Admission is $5 for students, $10 for adults.