Father urges students to join ‘Chucky’s Fight’ against drug abuse
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
Charles Rosa was joined by UNH students this past Sunday morning at Hampton Beach as they dove into the chilly water to show support for an organization called “Chucky’s Fight.” Chucky’s Fight is a foundation started by Rosa after he lost two sons to drug overdoses.
Rosa came to the university earlier in the week to speak to students and spread awareness of how using drugs can cost you your life.
Melissa Garvey, Health Services’ alcohol, tobacco and other drug educator, introduced Rosa at the event. Garvey works with a number of students on campus who face similar drug-related problems, and said that Rosa had “a great story to share.”
Before Rosa entered the room to speak, a video played of his story that had run on multiple news stations with the headline, “Chucky’s Fight: Making Way Against the War of Drug Abuse.”
Rosa had two sons die at young ages due to accidental drug overdoses: Domenic, at age 21, and Vincent, at age 20. Domenic died of a heroin overdose, after his third time overdosing, and Vincent died from a fentanyl patch after his first time trying it.
“Things can kill you. Do not try everything once,” Rosa said after a student asked whether he condoned the ‘try everything once’ mindset most college students have developed. Rosa then continued to address the students on his past drug abuse and experience with drugs.
Rosa admitted to having a past with drug abuse, but has been clean for over six years. He said that he wished he had set a better example for his two older boys and maybe if he had, they would still be here today.
“I never condoned it. I never did anything with them, but they knew I dabbled in it,” he said.
Rosa stays clean now not only for himself, but for his family. He is the father of four other children, including one who has also struggled with drug addiction.
Rosa’s son Charles struggled with drug abuse, even after the fatalities of his brothers. He was in and out of treatment centers until he found a passion for mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting, which has kept him clean from drug use. Charles is the current reigning 155-pound champion MMA fighter in Florida.
Since the fatalities of his two sons, Rosa has a ritual he repeats every morning in their memory: He dives into the ocean.
Rosa spread both of his son’s ashes into the water at Seabrook Beach in N.H. Every morning, he blesses himself and then dives into the water as a way to visit his boys every day.
“I spend a lot of time in the water; it makes me feel closer to them,” Rosa said.
No matter what the weather—rain, shine or snow—he jumps into the ocean everyday.
Rosa asked his audience to join him for a dive on Sunday at Hampton Beach to support his cause, and to spread further awareness of drug abuse.
Participants who joined in the dive defined it as a “rewarding experience.”
“I am so glad I got to be a part of it. It was an amazing experience,” Holly McNamara, student life chair for heath and human services, said.
Rosa’s biggest hope is to help prevent the tragedies that happened to his family from happening to others.
“This isn’t about me. It’s to help you guys understand the dangers of drugs and anything I can do to help you,” Rosa said.