Worthing mum determined to forge positives from her son’s tragic drug overdose
The mother of a young Worthing man who died from a drug overdose is determined to use the tragedy of his death to help save lives.
Nicci Parish described her 24-year-old son, Billy, as ‘happy, naughty but never boring’ and ‘loved by everyone he met’.
On November 9 last year, Billy celebrated his 24th birthday by having a few drinks and taking ‘a little’ MDMA, also known as ecstasy.
Nicci said the call from Worthing Hospital telling her Billy had suffered a seizure would haunt her for the rest of her life.
“When I got to the hospital and was finally able to see Billy he was lying in a pool of his own blood,” said Nicci, who lives in Beckett Road.
“I was only able to hold his hand as four nurses were trying to stop the flow of blood from his nose, ears and eyes as his blood had stopped clotting.”
Three days later, Billy suffered a cardiac arrest at Kings College Hospital in London and passed away.
In the six months that have followed, Nicci has raised thousands of pounds in Billy’s memory and worked with drug awareness charity Drug Watch Foundation to increase drug education.
The Manchester-based charity will be visiting three Worthing schools over the coming months to teach students on the dangers of taking drugs.
Nicci said it was important to highlight that even Billy’s recreational drug use was ‘playing Russian roulette with his life’.
Alongside his work as a carer for people with learning disabilities, Billy was a part-time model and aspiring photographer.
Later this year, Nicci is planning a fashion/art show in partnership with London fashion brand Field of Ponies and many of Billy’s creative friends who can exhibit their work.
Not only will the event raise more money for her cause, Nicci said it is a celebration of Billy’s life and another way of keeping his memory alive.
“I wanted something positive to come out of what happened to Billy,” she said. “Friends have used Billy’s story to speak to their own children about taking drugs.
“It’s a bit of a taboo subject, but it’s really important to me to make it a conversation.
“If I could save one person from taking drugs and something happening to them, that would be amazing.”
Fashion brand Field of Ponies have named Billy’s favourite trousers Billy, with all profits from their sale going to the JustGiving page. You can buy the trousers here.