Henry Louis Granju was checked into a Knoxville, TN hospital on April 27th, 2010 due to complications stemming from a drug overdose coupled with a physical assault. He was the oldest son of two loving parents. He was the stepson of two adoring stepparents. He was an idolized big brother to three children. He was the soon-to-be idolized big brother of yet another child — this one still in his mama’s womb. He was a beloved grandson. He was an incredible cousin. He was a friend to countless. He was a gifted musician. He was a wonderful writer. He was a bright, charming, sensitive, irreverent, kind, gentle, clever, imaginative and funny kid. He was also a drug addict.
And now, he’s dead.
Henry’s mother, Katie Allison Granju, has always been many things, herself. Author, columnist, speaker, social media expert, full-time professional, blogger, and of course, at the center of it all, mom. But this past spring she became something else entirely — the parental voice of teenage drug addiction.
Most wouldn’t have had the courage to do what Katie did. Most would have (understandably) buried their heads in the sand and dealt with the matter privately. But Katie chose to use her voice to detail virtually every last step of her family’s hellish journey in hopes that their story, Henry’s story, would serve as a grim example from which the rest of us could learn.
Simply put, more than anything else, Katie wants Henry’s short life to help save others. Thanks to her remarkable candor, superior writing, uncommon bravery and compelling voice, I’m think that it will.
Tonight, Katie will use her compelling voice on television. A local Knoxville TV station, WBIR, is running a special on Henry’s story at 7:00 Eastern. The timing is perfect. After all, today is the middle day of the 25th annual Red Ribbon Week, which is designed to encourage parents and teachers to discuss drugs, drug abuse and prevention with our youth.
Even if you’re not in Knoxville, you can still watch, as it will stream live here. And if you cannot watch at 7:00, the special will be archived on WBIR‘s website so you can watch it at a more convenient time.
Below, I’ve embedded the trailer for the special.
Photo — Katie Allison Granju
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