By Tami Scott for

HOPE for Bereaved

  When Oswego County resident Kelly Wells’ daughter died of a drug overdose, she sought help through HOPE for Bereaved, a Syracuse-based nonprofit organization that offers support to people grieving the death of a loved one. Her experience with its staff and volunteers was so positive that, consequently, she decided to launch a support group for people who reside in Fulton, her hometown.

  The initial meeting is set to take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 7 at the United Methodist Church, located at 357 State St., Fulton. The meetings will repeat the first Thursday of every month. 

  “Our 28-year-old daughter Celeste died of a drug overdose on May 21, 2016,” Wells said. “She was in a coma for eight days before we were asked to take her off life support.”

  About three months after her daughter’s death, Wells’ best friend made arrangements to bring her to HOPE’s support group in Syracuse, which was created last year in response to the rising opioid epidemic. She attended the group, “Those Whose Loved One Died of a Drug Overdose.”

  “Those first few meetings were tough, but without this group, I would not have faced my grief, accepted it and learned how to cope,” she said. “The fact that we had to drive an hour and 20 minutes […] was definitely one of the reasons I wanted to create an Oswego/Fulton Group.”

  To help establish the Fulton chapter, the Wells family held its first annual golf tournament last year called Celeste Wells Golf Tournament FORE HOPE, which raised $5,000 for HOPE for Bereaved. It was matched by Oswego-based Exelon Corp. HOPE for Bereaved is providing training, support, resources, on going guidance and publicity.

  For more information about the Fulton support group, contact Kelly Wells at

(315) 402-5444.

   HOPE for Bereaved is dedicated to helping grieving children, teens and adults by providing core services (support groups, monthly newsletter and counseling) at no charge. Founded in 1978, HOPE is an independent nonprofit community organization. Its purpose is to offer support, understanding, coping strategies, friendship and hope to the bereaved, as well as education, consultation and resources for their families, friends, employers, school/daycare staff, coworkers and invested professionals. The help given by HOPE can add greatly to the physical and mental well-being of the bereaved and therefore to their place of employment and to the community. For more information, call (315) 475-HOPE or visit

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