Posted on September 10 2018
LIVING under the same roof as a brother as he was falling into heroin addiction, Taryn Brumfitt never seriously thought she would lose him to the drug.
But a decade later, it took the life of her older sibling Jason while he was living on the streets.
Now travelling the world as an author, activist and speaker, Ms Brumfitt doesn’t often share the details of Jason’s story with audiences.
But next month, she will open up at an Adelaide event to raise money for the Hutt St Centre and Catherine House.
“I wanted to reflect the fact that we were a good family. We grew up with morals, ethics and values and still I had a brother that was a heroin addict.”
Charismatic and funny, Jason Butterworth was in his late teens when he began using heroin. Ms Brumfitt was a few years younger.
“It was a pretty full-on time,” she recalled.
“He owed money to people. There were times when I felt unsafe. A lot of my belongings were stolen and sold. It affects the whole family.”
Now a mother of three, Ms Brumfitt is on the board of the Hutt St Centre Foundation and wants to encourage people to reconsider their approach to those they may see living on Adelaide’s streets.
“People are people, whether they’re driving a fancy sports car or sitting on the side of the street unshowered,” she said.
“It’s OK to feel uncomfortable … maybe people should feel uncomfortable with that.
“But if you do feel guilty that you’re not doing enough then do more. When you pass someone in the street who is homeless, smile at them or say ‘g’day’ to them.”
Ms Brumfitt will speak at the In Conversation with Change Makers event at the Hilton Adelaide, on October 16, hosted by the Australia Day Council of SA.
For tickets, visit australiadaysa.com.au
For support, phone Homelessness Gateway on 1800 003 308
This article originally appeared in The Advertiser and is republished with permission.