By Seth Daniel
Michael Cain never touched a drug in his life, but pain medications after breaking his back while playing football introduced him to a life of drugs that would eventually take his life.
The statistics are plain, said his father, well-known Town DJ Michael ‘Smokey’ Cain, in that his son, Michael, was one of more than 1,500 people who lost their lives to opiate overdoses in 2015. The numbers have only increased, and to bring attention to that and help others, Cain and his family will have their second annual Michael’s Mission fundraiser on Sunday, June 18, at the Knights of Columbus.
The fundraiser, which is held on Michael’s birthday, benefits the Charlestown Recovery House, with a suggested donation of $20 and a suggested donation of socks and toiletries as well. The event runs from 2-6 p.m.
“Michael never took a drug in his life despite living with parents who struggled with addiction,” said Cain. “It was pain medication – a sports injury. He made the game saving tackle in the high school Super Bowl. He played Charlestown Youth Football, but he got hurt…He got sober there at Charlestown Recovery House. It was the most productive time in his life. He was a resident there and was working at Costa Fruit.”
Unfortunately for Michael, his father said that once he turned 21, he thought he would be able to drink. However, that led back to the addiction, and on July 2, 2015, he died of an overdose.
Now, Cain – who is a union roofer and a DJ – has put down his roofing jobs and taken up a full-time position in being a recovery coach and street worker in Chelsea. Working for North Suffolk Mental Health, he is part of an innovative team funded by the City of Chelsea that is trying new and different things to help get help to those fighting addiction – those like his own son that lost his life to the disease.
“I could make more money as a roofer, definitely, but I want to do something with meaning,” he said. “This work inspires me. It’s what I want to do for Michael, to reach others like him before it’s too late.”
Cain has joined a community of recovery coaches and outreach workers, including Shannon Lundin and Katie O’Leary, who are also trying to reach young people struggling with addiction.
Part of Cain’s mission is now Michael’s Mission as well.
He said he will continue holding the fundraiser every June 18 as long as people are willing to come and donate to the Recovery House.
The event is at the Knights from 2-8 p.m.